When I wrote this piece in November of 2017 for AVNation.tv I was hoping it would not become evergreen. I have updated it to September 2020.
Bradford September 20, 2020

Note: I am not an attorney and this does not qualify as legal advice. I share these examples based on what I have learned from training I have taken.

I try to keep my blogs fairly light and as positive as possible. This post is not going to be that. I didn’t think it would need to be repeated. This post is about harassment, specifically sexual harassment. It has gotten more news coverage in the States in October of 2017 as a result of the New York Times’ investigation of Harvey Weinstein. Harassment needs to stop in all industries and locations. This problem is a global problem. It is not limited to just one industry. I have seen it first hand in the AV Industry. I am disappointed to say I saw it in 2020. Yes, racism and prejudice is a bigger issue. There are people much more eloquent than me authoring ideas and suggestions. I will wait until I find my word.

My belief is that we all have a responsibility of addressing this issue. My opinion is, “If you see harassment happening in the workplace and don’t take action, you are complicit.”

I have multiple times. If needed I will do it again It takes courage. It is scary. That is secondary to the importance of taking action and making sure people know it is not okay. It may even help the victim feel better as they will know they are not alone and have support. It is not your responsibility to solve the issue. Everyone being safe is the key item.

Whether intentional or not, no one has the right to make others feel attacked or harassed in the workplace. A person can cause harm unintentionally but it is still harm. During this pandemic, commenting that someone gained weight while staying home can be considered harassment. It can also be classified as harassment if someone else gets uncomfortable it even if not directed at them. Asking someone’s religion or sexual orientation can also be harassment if it makes the person uncomfortable. Yes, it is about knowing the situation. It is not draconian, but I understand if it feels like it. A few years back a coworker’s daughter had a baby. I saw him in the hallway and said, “Hi Grandpa” which he took as congratulations. I knew him, I knew the husband of his daughter. It was an appropriate term of congratulations in that situation. If I had used Grandpa as an insult about his age, that would have been an issue. It is situational awareness.

In the workplace you don’t have to intervene directly. You can reach out to Human Resources or see if your employer has a “hotline” for issues. If they are not helpful, the next place would be the Labor Board or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the United States. Do not worry about damaging someone’s job performance, status, or reputation. They are the one acting that way, not you or the victim. You can provide support with small acts, for example not leaving the victim alone with the harasser.

“If you see harassment happening in the workplace and don’t take action, you are complicit.”

Bradford Benn

Think about how being harassed might damage the victim’s job status or chance of advancement. I wonder how many people have left a job, or an industry, as a result of being uncomfortable. Management harassing people can have an impact on the company’s reputation. Taking action typically will not. Cards Against Humanity failed to act when a rape accusation against Max Temkin in August of 2014 and the brand did suffer. It was not addressed by the company and continued to fester until June of 2020 Mr. Temkin was ousted for sexual harassment. It has continued to impact their reputation and revenue. Compare that to Charlie Rose being fired the day credible accusations were lodged. It quickly went away as the public was seeing the company acting quickly and sternly.

Reporting details and facts does not mean harassment has taken place. Reporting an incident simply means you are concerned about another human, not a bad thing. A key action is to make contemporaneous notes. A fancy way of saying write things down as soon as possible or even as it happens. Document as many details as you can and think are appropriate. Be factual and as objective as possible. I have gone so far as to draw a table and indicate where people were seated. Documenting the incident when it happens will make sure details are not forgotten

I am not belittling what people of color or women go through. I am amazed and disgusted at the amount of issues that happen to minorities and women. It is important to be aware harassment happens in all sorts of situations, whether it be gender, sexual preferences, religion, politics, skin color, eye color, weight, vocabulary … etc.

These ideas do not just apply to the work place but to the world in general. It is much scarier when out and about. The first thing to consider is safety before getting involved. The idea of documenting things still applies, just in case things escalate. @itsmaeril has put together a guide about “What to do if you are witnessing Islamaphobic Harrasment. – A bystander’s guide to help the person who’s being targeted.” This guide applies in all situations not just Islamaphobia. Swing by her site to take a look. I have included a lower resolution version below.

During the start of working from home in March of 2020, issues were still happening. One salesman placed a photo of a buxom women in an audio sales presentation with a double entendre about racks as slang and as audio equipment. He show the presentation on a webcast while being recorded. He not only made himself look bad, he made the company look bad. (I know people at the company, the presentation was not reviewed or approved by the company.) The fact that the salesman thought it would be good to put that slide in shows that he did not think about others. He downplayed the importance of women in the AV industry. Yes, it might have been unintentional, but it still impacted his company and his reputation.

Why do I care so much about this issue?

  1. It sucks to be harassed.
  2. I don’t like that I worry about possible issues with asking a coworker for their phone number or e-mail address so we can stay in touch after we stop working together
  3. It sucks to be harassed.

Why should you care?

  1. It sucks to be harassed.
  2. Harassment hurts people
  3. Harassment leads to less collaboration, everywhere.
  4. It sucks to be harassed.

None of this is easy. I will not say that there won’t be reactions to your actions. I have seen changes in my “social circles”. I look at it as I don’t want to be friends with people who harass others. I don’t regret my actions at all.

I am still saddened that this conversation still needs to occur.

Remember, one is protected against retaliation from their employer by law (in the United States) as long as the complaint is submitted in good faith.
Please be nice to all, make the world a little better. If you need an ally, just ask; there are many of us around.
Thank you,

A poster to show how to be an ally.

I recently was asked by one of my Twitter followers why I tweet once a day the date and to be nice to one another and to be polite. There are three reasons that I will share and the rest are conversations for later.

The first reason started during the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 events. I remembered how the world changed that day, but not just in the innocence and lives lost but for a brief period of time when everyone was nice to each other. I was not just the local community, it was wide spread to the country, and most of the world. I experienced it myself at Los Angeles Airport, LAX, the morning of Sept 14. I was on one of the first flights out of LAX. I arrived at the airport four hours before my flight. The place was packed. Security was tight, there were lines everywhere. However everyone was polite and nice. People in the line were sharing their food with strangers. There was no pushing and shoving or frustration at the security check point. Other than the huge time amount and long lines it was actually pleasant. People were nice to each other and for a few days, weeks, or months, the world was a better place in my not so humble opinion.

The second reason is that the Interwebs can easily become a repository of just negative things. I am guilty of it as well. Often people broadcast when bad things are happening and their dislike of a situation, person, or company. I am guilty of it with my rants about the NHL. However I tried to be polite about and nice to the person who was helping me, when I got help which was only once. See, I did it again. I try to be aware of it, it is part of the reason when I encounter problems I try to communicate directly with the parties involved. It is too easy for the dogpile effect to happen online, one person says something bad and then lots of other people chime in. It is nicer to allow the people a chance to fix the problem before broadcasting the issue. At times broadcasting the issue is a tool to try to get the issue fixed, but one should still be polite.

The third reason is that with how much I travel I see people behaving badly quite often. As an example I will use my most recent case of delayed baggage. When I arrived at my home airport, my luggage did not. This situation also happened to other people. What was interesting was watching a passenger yell at the gate agent about their luggage being delayed. The gate agent had nothing to do with the luggage being delayed. The luggage was delayed at O’Hare Airport in Chicago. The passenger was berating the person who could help them. Not the wisest thing ever. I got my bag a few hours later, I wonder if the “gentlemen” ever did…

Being nice to each other is just a way to make the world a better place for everyone.