It’s not mandatory by law yet, but Illinois legislators began formal lessons Wednesday on how to conduct themselves without “unwelcome” behavior and contacts that could be perceived by victims as sexual harassment.
Try the “grandma test.”
Using that filter was one of the tips given to state legislators who participated in voluntary sexual harassment training at the capitol on Wednesday.
“If you think some word that you’re about to say, or a phrase, that you would not say in front of your grandma, or you were to behave in a way that you would not want your grandma to see you doing, then you probably ought not to be doing that,” Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, explained.
Legislation speedily approved by the General Assembly a day earlier will require all legislators, lobbyists and state employees to undergo mandatory sexual harassment training each calendar year, starting in 2018.
A course provided by the Illinois Department on Human Rights includes best practices (“think before you speak”), an explanation of the two types of harassment (quid pro quo and hostile work environment) and a focus on a victim’s perception.
A slideshow used in the training uses a New York Times quote to explain:
“At its core, sexual harassment is about power, and politics is the ultimate power profession. It draws in young people who are eager to advance and reluctant to make waves. And political organizations rise and fall around the fortunes of one central figure, a hierarchy that discourages reporting of harassment, because if the boss gets in trouble, everyone’s job is at risk.”
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