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SNL Skit Addresses Sexual Harassment--An Unfunny Reality for 48% of the Female Workforce
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By: Teri Bernstein

 

 "Claire from HR" (Cecily Strong from SNL) on sexual harassment (TVMA)

 

According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, sexual harassment is a reality for 48% of women in the workforce. Individuals who do not identify as women are being harassed as well. Human resource departments (now often heavily staffed with attorneys) often use "trainings" in an attempt to mitigate corporate liability resulting from sexual harassment, which can be costly in terms of productivity and turnover, as well as dollar settlements. These trainings clearly are not doing enough to address the realities of harassment if so many are still experiencing it.

 

The humorous skit from Saturday Night Live is far more direct than any HR training might be. It deals with the issue in substance, rather than side-stepping the interpersonal issues by focusing on the legalities. Marketplace's Sabri Ben-Achour addressed the effectiveness of various approaches to sexual harassment training in a previous podcast: "What makes sexual harassment training effective--and ineffective."

 

Source: "SNL's Claire From HR nails sexual harassment, but she won't be part of your training," by Jana Kasperkevic, Marketplace: American Public Media, November 13, 2017.

 

Discussion: 

  • What part of the #MeToo movement resonates as with you? What, if anything, makes you uncomfortable about the revelations regarding sexual harassment? Have you felt any backlash?
  • Do you have any apologies to make? Do you feel any apologies are due to you? Have you witnessed behaviors that have made you uncomfortable? Describe at least once situation in which you would have behaved differently, in any of the three roles (harasser, person being harassed, and bystander).
  • In small groups in a classroom or workplace setting, role-play harassment scenarios and delineated at lease three ways to respond if you were a bystander. List possible positive and possible negative outcomes that may occur with each response. 
  • How should Human Resource departments deal with sexual harassment and sexual harassment training? Listen to the podcast linked above on effectiveness to inform your answer.