Collector – October 2019 - 10

BESTPRACTICES

Networking Without Fear
How to ensure your speech and actions at professional events
align with your behavior in the office.
By Anne Rosso May

T

he rules of the road in your
office are probably pretty wellknown. Employee handbooks,
your policies and procedures, and
periodic anti-harassment training set
clear expectations for behavior. This not
only protects your brand and clients but
also your staff, who expect to come to
work every day in a safe and respectful
environment.
But when you are at an accounts
receivable management industry event,
outside the four walls of your office, do
those rules still apply?
The answer, of course, is yes. In recent
years, a wave of business leaders have
been exposed for harassment and bad
behavior, some of which occurred at
professional conferences. In a survey
conducted by Smarts Consulting LLC,
60% of the respondents reported having
experienced harassment at a meeting at
some point in their careers.
"Far too many individuals do not
realize (or appreciate) that the corporate
code of conduct applies equally to
behavior inside and outside of the office,"
said Steve Wiesner, CEO of pelotonRPM,
a compliance and HR training platform
provider.
Why do these off-site events
sometimes muddy the waters of expected
professional behavior? "When people
travel they have more of a sense of
freedom and autonomy," said Susan
Strauss, certified harassment and
bullying consultant. "Very often,
particularly if they are spending
the night in a different city, their
interactions outside of their normal
work environment can feel more social
than professional. But if you are away on
business, yes, you are still on company

10

time and you need to abide by the law
and your company's policies."

THE CONSEQUENCES OF
WORKPLACE HARASSMENT
To start: it's illegal. Federal and state laws
protect employees from sexual harassment
and discrimination in the workplace.
Harassment and bullying can have
lasting consequences for victims. They
may feel hesitant to attend future
professional events where the perpetrator
might also be, which could impact their
advancement opportunities. They might
even feel uncomfortable enough to leave
the industry all together. And of course,
harassment can lead to depression and
other mental health concerns.
For women and minorities in
particular, harassment "feeds into
impostor syndrome and the sense that
no matter how good you are at what
you do, that alone is not enough,"
Sherry A. Marts, Ph.D., president and
CEO of Smarts Consulting LLC, said in
a recent report.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU WITNESS
HARASSMENT
Harassment takes many forms and can
include things like demeaning jokes,
sexual innuendo, derogatory remarks
and inappropriate physical touch.
"It can be something extreme or
it can be something that might be
more nuanced but still pushes the
boundaries of what is expected during
regular business hours in a typical work
environment," Strauss said.
In the abstract, these things sound
ridiculously obvious-of course you
would never say or do anything like that.
But mistakes can happen, especially if you

are at an event where alcohol is served
or you're talking to people who you've
known for years. Maybe you're chatting
with peers at a cocktail reception and you
make a vulgar joke or perhaps you send
an off-color comment as part of a group
text with other meeting attendees. These
things are not acceptable. Your actions,
no matter the audience or context, should
be professional at all times.
Biased behavior can also be subtle, even
if it doesn't rise to the legal definition of
harassment, and can include things like
telling a woman to smile or to appear
more pleasant. (The argument here is:
How often do you ask a man to smile?)
"Some might argue that the
offensiveness or hostility in this behavior
is unintended, and, while this may be
true on occasion, it does not make the
behavior less offensive or hostile," Marts
said. "Harassment must be assessed from

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Collector – October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector – October 2019

President’s Page
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Collection Tips
Accessibility From Every Angle
Information Transformation
Calendar
Honor Roll
Education Spotlight
Behind the Name
A.I. is Transforming Compliance. Are You Ready?
What to Watch in 2020
ACA’s Industry Advancement Program Provides Amicus Support in Key FDCPA Statute of Limitations Issue
ACA SearchPoint
Ad Index
Membership
Last Word
Collector – October 2019 - Cover1
Collector – October 2019 - Cover2
Collector – October 2019 - 1
Collector – October 2019 - 2
Collector – October 2019 - 3
Collector – October 2019 - 4
Collector – October 2019 - President’s Page
Collector – October 2019 - Industry News
Collector – October 2019 - 7
Collector – October 2019 - 8
Collector – October 2019 - 9
Collector – October 2019 - Best Practices
Collector – October 2019 - 11
Collector – October 2019 - FYI
Collector – October 2019 - 13
Collector – October 2019 - Collection Tips
Collector – October 2019 - 15
Collector – October 2019 - 16
Collector – October 2019 - 17
Collector – October 2019 - 18
Collector – October 2019 - 19
Collector – October 2019 - Accessibility From Every Angle
Collector – October 2019 - 21
Collector – October 2019 - 22
Collector – October 2019 - 23
Collector – October 2019 - Information Transformation
Collector – October 2019 - 25
Collector – October 2019 - 26
Collector – October 2019 - 27
Collector – October 2019 - 28
Collector – October 2019 - 29
Collector – October 2019 - Calendar
Collector – October 2019 - Honor Roll
Collector – October 2019 - Education Spotlight
Collector – October 2019 - 33
Collector – October 2019 - Behind the Name
Collector – October 2019 - 35
Collector – October 2019 - A.I. is Transforming Compliance. Are You Ready?
Collector – October 2019 - 37
Collector – October 2019 - What to Watch in 2020
Collector – October 2019 - 39
Collector – October 2019 - 40
Collector – October 2019 - 41
Collector – October 2019 - ACA’s Industry Advancement Program Provides Amicus Support in Key FDCPA Statute of Limitations Issue
Collector – October 2019 - 43
Collector – October 2019 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector – October 2019 - Ad Index
Collector – October 2019 - Membership
Collector – October 2019 - 47
Collector – October 2019 - Last Word
Collector – October 2019 - Cover3
Collector – October 2019 - Cover4
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