It wasn’t that long ago when Missouri House Speaker John Diehl was caught sending text messages to an intern in Jefferson City. Just to jog your memory – the speaker was sending messages to the intern that went something like this,
“Gee Mr. Speaker, I’m not into married men.”
“U better rethink that, cause I said ur hot.”
It wasn’t the most Danielle Steel of romantic text messages between the two, but you get my point.
When the flirty text messages came to light, Speaker Diehl did what any politician would do-deny, deny deny.
That is until the intern produced the text messages, Speaker Diehl suddenly resigned and the intern program was stopped. That episode shed light on two important things:
- Jeff City has an intern harassment problem rumored to be decades old that needs immediate attention.
- Heads up creepy politicians – the interns ALWAYS save the text messages.
Fast forward to today when it was revealed that Jeff City is FINALLY laying out a plan to deal with this problem. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the No Shit Sherlock plan for dealing with sexual harassment.
Mandatory sexual harassment training for both politicians and interns – lawmakers so they don’t do it and interns so they can identify it. “Oh so you mean it isn’t ok for Representative So and So to ask me to sit on his lap while he reads me the latest legislative brief?”
Registering all of the interns with an emergency contact. This is helpful in case an intern roll call needs to be taken at the end of the day. It will be easy to identify if Betty is missing and got stuck in the elevator with House Member Grabby Hands.
A no relationship policy between interns and House Members. Stop for a second and read that again with me. That actually has to be written out?! (UGH….I run screaming out of the room.) How bad does it have to be in your work environment that someone has to take the time to write out a policy saying it’s a no-no to sleep with the staff? Unfreakingbelievable!
You can read the proposed plan in this attached document. Response to Engler Framework (2)
I get that there are a lot of places that have harassment policies, but they are also considering implementing a conservative dress code to help solve this problem.
“We need a good, modest, conservative dress code for both the males and females,” King wrote in an email to colleagues. “Removing one more distraction will help everyone keep their focus on legislative matters.”
Removing one more distraction?
He must mean that the female interns were prone to having their breasts suddenly pop out of their Brooks Brothers button-downs at various times throughout the day causing the male lawmakers to suddenly lose all control and grope them. I completely agree that a dress code to control breast popping is reasonable. Men are only human and exposed breasts in the workplace aren’t something you can blame the men’s actions on.
Wait! This just in. That never actually happened.
This argument that what you wear can cause a certain behavior in someone else seems very familiar. Where have I heard that before? Hmm….thinking….Oh yes! It’s an old school rape argument. The thought decades ago was that what a woman wore could contribute to her own rape. Good old victim blaming!
Yes, please proceed with the dress code policy if you want the people of Missouri to believe that the female interns are responsible for their own sexual harassment. I think that’s a fine idea and I’m sure that the voters in Missouri will support you 100%.
I guess it’s totally unreasonable to expect that grown men treat women with respect and stop hitting on them without things like a no-relationship policy and dress codes. To save you some time, I thought I would just leave this 1943 article about hiring women in transportation. It’s easy to change the word “employee” to “intern”. I think it reflects the same attitude towards women in Jefferson City that you will find today.
1943 Guide to Hiring Women:
The following is an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine. This was written for male supervisors of women in the work force during World War II.
Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees
There’s no longer any question whether transit companies should hire women for jobs formerly held by men. The draft and manpower shortage has settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient women available and how to use them to the best advantage. Here are eleven helpful tips on the subject from western properties:
1. If you can get them, pick young married women. They have these advantages, according to the reports of western companies: they usually have more of a sense of responsibility than do their unmarried sisters; they’re less likely to be flirtatious; as a rule, they need the work or they wouldn’t be doing it — maybe a sick husband or one who’s in the army; they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.
2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Most transportation companies have found that older women who have never contacted the public, have a hard time adapting themselves, are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It’s always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.
3. While there are exceptions, of course, to this rule, general experience indicates that “husky” girls — those who are just a little on the heavy side — are likely to be more even-tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.
4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination — one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit but also reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job. Transit companies that follow this practice report a surprising number of women turned down for nervous disorders.
5. In breaking in women who haven’t previously done outside work, stress at the outset the importance of time — the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.
6. Give the female employee in garage or office a definite day-long schedule of duties so that she’ll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.
7. Whenever possible, let the inside employee change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be nervous and they’re happier with change.
8. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. Companies that are already using large numbers of women stress the fact that you have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and consequently is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.
9. Be tactful in issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can’t shrug off harsh words the way that men do. Never ridicule a woman — it breaks her spirit and cuts her efficiency.