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August '18

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88 • RV PRO • August 2018 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S Dealerships in the Age of 'MeToo' Dealerships need to stay ahead of sexual harassment by having clear policies on things like workplace dating and by making sure employees know the steps for reporting unacceptable behavior. I n the past, female coworkers may have been resigned to level of inappropriate conversation or even unwanted advances. In today's cor- porate culture, however, there is zero tolerance for such behavior. What's more, there is a powerful equalizer to those who would abuse their power or position in the form of the courts, insurance companies and social media. Now, you may wonder why I would under- take a column on this topic. I have to admit I'm not an expert. I don't personally know the feelings and fears of being a young woman in the workforce. If you are asking what qualifies me to have an opinion or to give counsel in this area, it is simply because I care about this issue. That interest stems from two facets of my own life. The pri- mary one is that I am the father of two adult daughters who are in the workplace. As their father, I have an abiding concern for their safety and welfare. The secondary side has more to do with a sense of propriety, or of knowing the difference between right and wrong. I've never liked some- one's actions when they present themselves as a bully or as one who exercises undue control over another. On learning about the theme of this issue, I had that conversation recently with both of my daughters. It was admittedly a tough thing for me to do. The upshot is that it has been a common experience to endure some sort of "yuck" (in the words of one daughter) in the workplace. It seems that has recently changed. Is There A Problem Here? Whether or not they are aware, many of today's managers and supervisors walk a fine line in the workspace. Are they too friendly? Or too cold? Can friendliness cross the line? Clearly so. Even a moment where the coworker is expressing distress regarding personal issues that are happening outside of work can lead down a path where lines are crossed or, at least, blurred. The compassion leading to being con- cerned about those personal problems can lead to a connection that isn't appropriate. Harvey Weinstein. Steve Wynn. Jerry Rich- ardson. Alex Kozinski. Matt Lauer. Al Franken. James Rosen. The New York Times, at the writing of this column, is maintaining a list of 71 dis- graced men. They come from all areas of the country and all types of businesses. It would be a stretch to think the RV industry is exempt. So, what makes the difference between romance and "yuck?" Or, what about the line between romance and harassment? If you put young men and young women in a common environment, you can expect nature to have an impact. We all know couples who met in the workplace. My counsel would be that before you "make a move" you should be certain that your attention will be well-received. The better course is surely to avoid situations at work altogether, but I will be the first to admit that can be difficult. Any attention along those lines should be avoided if you are in a position of power over the other or if they are vulnerable from a personal standpoint. Caesar, Claudius & Pompeia Perhaps you've heard the phrase "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion." That's axiomatic. It means that you shouldn't place yourself in a situ- ation where the possibility of impropriety exists. If you dig into that story on Wikipedia, you will find the original tale from ancient Rome was ambiguous as to whether or not the emperor's wife was guilty of anything. Caesar nevertheless divorced Pompeia, saying that she "must be above By Chuck Marzahn Chuck Marzahn is a partner with Marzahn & King Consulting, a well- known consulting and training firm specializing in the RV industry based in Virginia Beach, Va. He can be reached for comment and questions at ChuckMarzahn AndKing.com.

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