Do men and women face different standards regarding workplace sexual conduct?

Michael Brodkorb is threatening to sue the Minnesota Senate for gender discrimination. He was fired from his job on the Senate staff after having an affair with Sen. Amy Koch. His complaint asserts that female staff members have not been fired after affairs with male legislators. Today’s Question: Do men and women face different standards regarding workplace sexual conduct?

  • Zeke

    Well duh!

    The office parties that I attended when I was a young whipper-snapper were something to behold. Cigarettes, booze, Ah those were the days.

    I can remember the time…..

  • Steve the Cynic

    It used to be that when a powerful man had an affair with a female underling, the female was scapegoated for “seducing” the otherwise fine, upstanding citizen. It seems equal rights have progressed to the point where the shoe can now be on the other foot.

  • Jim G

    Yes, the men are usually held to lower bar and the women the higher. Sexism is rampant in our society, and that means the workplace is fraught with sexual tension and booby-traps that destroy careers when they explode. It actually pays to keep your sex life out of the office.

  • JasonB

    So long as there are different attitudes about sexual behavior between men and women there will be different standards of conduct. But in Brodkorb’s case I suspect it is more about office politics, and sexual indiscretion is just one of many convenient reasons for his ouster.

  • Yes, there is a double standard in that men are rarely viewed as victims of sexual harassment and rarely do men press charges when they are victims. It’s as though a man is supposed to be flattered if his female boss comes on to him, but I don’t see the difference. A person with workplace power over you making sexual advances shouldn’t be tolerated regardless if you’re male or female.

  • david

    I’ve never witnessed any difference in valid cases. The the only differences I have witnessed is when the “victim” sees dollar signs and thinks they have an opportunity to get rich quick. This is not only true for sex (man vs. woman) issues, but sexual orientation, race, and plain old getting even after a disciplinary action. It comes down to greed and moral fiber.

    Unfortunately many businesses cave to these allegations and settle when they shouldn’t, rather then risk a potentially tarnished reputation when the alleged victim is in a historically discriminated against category. In Brodkorb’s case I think he’s seeing the dollar signs, but because he’s a man he is also going to have a tough road towards a settlement where a woman might possibly get paid off and hushed up more readily. With this case already being so much in the public eye, that might override my observations and any plaintive would have a fight regardless. Then there’s the fact that government at times seems they couldn’t care less what the people think, at least the people without big checkbooks.

  • Craig

    Most of society is a thin veneer over the mating game. The louche cocktail of looks, wealth, wit, status and gender can be powerful in so many different combinations it is very difficult to formulate standards.

  • B Ford

    “Sexism is rampant in our society, and that means the workplace is fraught with sexual tension and booby-traps that destroy careers when they explode.”

    Frightening visual Jim.

    Perhaps this calls for a campaign of ribbon donning and a national march. We could call it “Race for the Career”

  • Jim G

    ; )

  • Gary F

    “Do men and women face different standards regarding workplace sexual conduct?”

    Geez, only nine responses so far. I’ll kick some life into today’s question.

    Shouldn’t the question state…………?

    “Do Republicans and Democrats face different standards regarding workplace sexual conduct?”

    It will be fun to see who he exposes if he does and how the media handles it.

  • Dear Abbey

    WHat’s really interesting Gary is that most people haven’t figured out yet, that those politicians were set-up to begin with. It’s an old game blackmailERs like to use and it works quite well in the political campaign arena.

    So, if you plan to run for a position, stay on your diet. Reading the menu is only a trigger or catalyst that will most definitely get you tossed out of the race.

  • Michele

    I wonder why Amy Koch isn’t being disciplined for abusing her power and taking advantage of a subordinate?

  • Steve

    Do men and women face different standards regarding workplace sexual conduct?

    Oh my yes!!!! Women can do things to men now that men never did to women….. We all know men can’t be raped ..but how many female teachers have used a male student for their pleasure… it is now far more common to find women boss..that have and are using staff as they want.

    It is know that not all females report rape…… for every unreported female rape…. there are 10-100 male unreported rapes…

    A woman can and some do, do things in the work place that are worse than what men have done. The women know that men can’t come forward about this and ever be seen as “man” again.

    Evil is Evil…

  • Steve the Cynic

    Excuse me, Steve, but if all that is “unreported,” how do you know that?

  • @Steve –

    Your comment confuses me. Men can’t be raped? I’m fairly certain that there are prison inmates who would disagree with you, not to mention a large number of former Catholic alter boys and young men with unfortunate ties to Jerry Sandusky. It is sexist, imho, to think that rape victims are exclusively female.

    But then you say men don’t report rape. Is this because you seemingly think men are raped by women? Because a man can’t rape another man in your mind?