Sex Is No Joke In the Office

October 1996

EXECUTIVE MEMO

Sex Is No Joke In The Office

Did you hear the one about the two people in the supply closet? If you did, it shouldn't have been at work. Federal workers are growing less and less tolerant of sex talk at the office, according to the Merit Systems Protection Board. The August issue of Issues of Merit, the newsletter of MSPB's office of policy and review, warns against sexual joking, comments, even talking about sex at work.

More than half those responding to a MSPB survey last year agreed that "Sexual joking or conversations in which people talk about sexual issues are almost always inappropriate in the workplace."

The newsletter says the growing discomfort is part of a trend toward seeing more and more activities of a sexual nature as harassment. MSPB reported on sexual harassment in government in 1980, 1987, 1994 and 1995. The percentage of women who considered pressure for a date from a supervisor to be harassment grew from 77 percent in 1980 to 91 percent in 1994. While 76 percent of men considered such pressure harassment in 1980, 86 percent did in 1994.

As for sexual teasing, jokes and remarks at work, the percentage of women who believe such banter constitutes harassment grew from 54 percent in 1980 to 77 percent in 1994; the percentage of men who agreed went from 42 percent to 64 percent. In 1980, fewer than half the men surveyed considered suggestive looks and gestures from co-workers to be harassment. By 1994, more than three-quarters of men put leering in the harassment column. Meanwhile, the percentage of women offended by looks and gestures rose from 72 percent in 1980 to 91 percent in 1994.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.