Laughter to the rescue
Seattle consultant Sandra Meggert believes that the bottom line and the laugh line were meant to intersect.
She succeeds in getting busy professionals to toss marshmallows at each other, dance back-to-back with their arms locked at the elbows and sing of their work-related blues.
"What humor does in stressful situations is distract you," she said, explaining that such a distraction can provide a new perspective or deal with a problematic or stressful situation.
"If people laugh or if they groan, it's still a reaction. It's still a distracting kind of thing," she said.
If you wonder whether a given remark at work might be harassing, try this test from "Sexual Harassment on the Job," a new publication by Nolo Press:
* Would you say or do this in front of your spouse?
* How would you feel if your mother, wife, sister or daughter were subjected to the same behavior?
* How would you feel if someone said or did the same things to you?
The book, by attorneys William Petrocelli and Barbara Kate Repa, explains legal definitions of sexual harassment, explains how the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission works and discusses when and why one might want to hire a lawyer.
It also discusses what to do short of taking legal action.
* On sexually explicit jokes and comments: "Take the speaker aside and tell him how you feel. He just might not have known that he was being offensive. If nothing else, he'll be put on notice."
* On responding to touches and overtures: "It is usually better to make a direct request that a specific kind of behavior stop, rather than to describe to your harasser how you feel."
* If the harassing behavior doesn't stop, write a letter. Tell the harasser what actions you'll take if the behavior persists.
The whole family suffers when employers don't pay a woman a full day's pay for a full day's work. And that makes unequal salaries based on gender a political issue that should be addressed in the presidential election.
That conclusion is the opinion of 77 percent of 1,000 registered voters interviewed by a professional research firm for the National Committee on Pay Equity.
The same percentage said they would endorse a national pay-equity law requiring that women, minorities and men be paid the same for jobs that require similar levels of skills and responsibility, even if the jobs are different.