Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Harassment Training and Infertility

I know that I promised a Disney recap.  It's coming.  I need to get my photos uploaded, hopefully tonight.  In the meantime, I wanted to share an experience from yesterday.  I had the pleasure of sitting through my company's recurrent harassment training.  Fun times...

My company recognizes a rather amazing number of protected categories-- some mandated by states, others just because it's "the right thing to do."  Of course there are the usuals: race, sex color, national origin, religion, age, etc.  We also protect our employees from harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  And, of course, pregnancy.

The interesting thing about that last one is that my boss was hired for her new position mere weeks into her current pregnancy.  Clearly my company makes good on the training by following policy with action.  And, I'm glad to know that when our day comes, I can expect the same consideration from the company.  In the meantime, I'm reminded that the company attempts to "protect" a large cross-section of people from unnecessary pain, but so often people fail to consider their words through the filter of infertility.

Now, I'm not saying that I think that infertility should be a protected harassment category.  It's not as if I would ever file a harassment claim based on someone's ill-conceived, fertility-related comment.  However, it would be nice if there was ever a mention of it just to plant the seed in people's minds that they might want to tread lightly. 

I'm always shocked at the ridiculous things the people who do know what we're going through say.  In fact, sometimes those people say more ridiculous things than people who don't know!  Harassment training left me wishing that more people would try to put themselves, even if just for a few minutes, in our shoes...and even more than my shoes, because I haven't walked this journey for very long, the shoes of those of you have been patient for so long and endured so much pain. 

Harassment is a strong word that shouldn't be thrown around lightly.  I don't think it really applies here, in most cases.  But, "relax," "...in God's time," or "don't you want kids," etc. shouldn't be thrown around so lightly either.

And the other thing that I realized in harassment training...just about everything has the potential to remind me of our infertility journey, especially days away from AF.

7 comments:

Jen said...

Very well-written post! I couldn't agree more. Since I work in HR, I deal with things like harassment training, and unfortunately, harassment, fairly often. People really have no idea how they come across sometimes. I think others have a complete lack of an ability to think before they talk!

Jendeis said...

Great post. I wonder if it's not a bad idea to have IF included in the pregnancy-related portion of the harassment training. I mean, really, this whole thing is about being sensitive to other's people lives and backgrounds. We never really know what other people around us are dealing with.

Alison said...

I absolutely agree that some phrases are just so overused it's offensive. Like telling someone to relax is *really* going to do any good whatsoever.

lowfatlady said...

Your right, everything does seem to remind us of our infertility struggles. That is interesting to think of it in terms of harassment training. It would be nice if that was covered and not as much of a silent thing.

Jaymee said...

yes, those platitudes are awful. over the years though i have learned that they really come from a place of love and support. not the love and support that we need, but the only pieces that some people are able to give. IF causes such a wound that many people have no idea how to even get close, let alone what to say.

ILCW

Circus Princess said...

Interesting. Maybe there could be something in that harassment plan that made sure the insurance the company uses cover IVF and/or adoption!

Happy ICLW!

April said...

I've heard so many of those platitudes that it sounds like a broken record sometimes. I do wish people would think a bit about those of us who are having problems and filter what they say through their minds, even if only for a second.

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