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HR Handled Right

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Ready for a challenge? Take the Appropriate Workplace Behavior Quiz and see how savvy you are about effective behavior at work. Write down the answers on a page of paper and then click on the answer link to see how you did.

Appropriate Workplace Behavior Quiz

1. Yuri Anders and Elsa Engle are new employees who have just come to the United States from Sweden. Already, Yuri is famous for his “Swedish” jokes, some of which are slightly off-color. Elsa tries to be a good sport, but she quickly tires of Yuri making fun of her native country. When she hints around for Yuri to knock it off, he tells her, “Hey, lighten up. I’m making fun of myself. If I’m a Swede and don’t mind Swedish jokes, neither should you.” Yuri’s behavior is:

a. illegal

b. inappropriate

c. okay, since
he making fun of his own cultural background

d. effective,
since he is showing his new colleagues that he has a sense of

2. Dr. Jonathan Feelgood is a new sports psychologist at a wellness facility. He describes himself as a “touchy, feely psychologist” who frequently touches other employees. His supervisor, Dr. Wimpy, questions his behavior; Dr. Feelgood argues that no one has ever complained about it and that, in fact, a few of his clients have said his touching is therapeutic. Dr. Wimpy lets it go. Should an employee sue:

a. harassment may be charged, but it can never be proven

b. the fact that some employees have appreciated Dr. Analyist’s “therapeutic touch” will be a valid defense

c. there are no grounds for harassment claims

d. Drs. Wimpy and Feelgood can be found personally liable, as can the wellness facility

3. Elena is John’s supervisor. Due to a stringent deadline, Elena and John have had to work closely over the past three months and they have gradually developed romantic feelings for each other. They start dating. However, when word gets back to human resources, the Director is concerned about the impact this could have on work. His number one concern is likely to be:

a. perception of favoritism on the part of other employees

b. possibility of retaliation if the relationship ends

c. conflict of interest between job responsibilities and personal feelings

d. John and Elena will show affection toward each other at work

4. What would be a reasonable course of action for the Director?

a. advise them to discontinue the romantic relationship

b. have John report to another supervisor

c. have a group meeting and reassure the employees that no favoritism will be shown

d. mind her own business

5. A person who does not intend anything offensive in his or her behavior:

a. can not sexually harass someone because the behavior must be intentional

b. can unintentionally offend someone but will not be held liable in a courtroom

c. can be held liable in a court of law

6. Don and Sharon are interviewing for a new manager at a retail store. The store is located in a “bad neighborhood” and Sharon expresses concern about hiring a woman at the new store. What if she gets mugged? Don also expresses concern that some of the customers might use rough language and that might offend a female manager. Don and Sharon’s boss intervenes, saying he doesn’t think gender should be a factor in the hiring decision. Sharon and Don’s behavior is an example of:

a. appropriate workplace behavior — she’s concerned about her manager’s safety

b. inappropriate workplace behavior — she’s making assumptions based on gender

c. sexual harassment — interviewees are being harassed based on gender

d. sex discrimination — hiring decisions are based on gender

7. Computer programmers are often hunched over a computer all day, so a group of them decide to give each other backrubs at the end of the day. Both male and female computer programmers participate and everyone seems to enjoy it. In the course of the back rubs, some one starts kidding around and making sexual jokes; for example, one of the programmers jokingly says “this isn’t the only thing I’d like to rub.” When one employee complains about the teasing “going
over the line,” the other employees tell her she shouldn’t have participated if it was going to bother her and tell her she is certainly free to stop now. This reaction to the employee’s complaint is:

a. appropriate since the complaining employee was a willing participant in the backrubs

b. a good defense since they gave her an option to avoid offensive behavior

c. legally risky for the back-rubbing employees and the company

d. sexual harassment

8. Ross just got an e-mail at work from a colleague in France. It contained the funniest sexual cartoon he has ever seen and he wants to pass it along to his good friend and coworker, Randy, whom he knows will think it is funny, too. Unfortunately, Randy makes a mistake and forwards the e-mail to all company employees. Randy:

a. has unintentionally put himself and the company at legal risk

b. should apologize to employees and ask them to delete the cartoon immediately

c. is a victim of cultural differences

d. a and b

9. Karen and Rick are company managers who dated for six months. When Rick breaks up with Karen, she is devastated and determined to win Rick back. She frequently stops by his desk at work to ask him to get together and “talk” about the relationship, she leaves letters reminding him or the good times they have had, and, the other day, she was so upset she interrupted his meeting with a customer. Rick has often told Karen that he wants to have a good relationship with
her but that, alas, his romantic feelings have died. Karen’s behavior could be:

a. annoying to Rick and other employees

b. inappropriate but since Rick welcomed her advances at one time, not sexual harassment

c. sexual harassment

d. appropriate — Karen knows what she wants and is determined to get it

10. Andrea works on the factory line at company X. Andrea considers herself to be pretty tough; she’s been around the block a few times and is confident that she can speak up and take care of herself. However, several of her coworkers are from a country that values respecting authority. It bothers her that her line manager often takes advantage of their quiet demeanor, teases them in a sexual manner, and says things to intentionally embarrass them when he is stressed. She doesn’t know what to do, though, since he doesn’t do those things to her. What is happening to Andrea could be considered:

a. none if her business

b. third party sexual harassment

c. a stressful work situation that impacts Andrea’s work performance

d. the inevitable consequences of a tough boss

e. b and c

11. Steven is a manager in an accounting firm. The April 15th deadline is looming and his staff is becoming increasingly stressed. To relieve stress, he hands out t-shirts designating his group the “tornado team” and spends the staff meeting brainstorming with his group about ways they can improve morale and get through these turbulent times. Steven’s behavior is an example of:

a. inappropriate workplace behavior — Steven should be filling out tax returns instead of telling jokes at work

b. appropriate workplace behavior — he’s using humor that is stress-relieving, work-related and inclusive of everyone

c. sexual harassment — everyone knows tornado is a sexy word

d. discrimination — hurricanes are being left out

12. Yu Li is a new employee at company X. His manager, Sharon, wants to help him feel at home at the company and invites him to accompany her family for Sunday church services. She also wants to show Yu Li how important her religious beliefs are to her and to introduce him to the Christian religion. Yu Li accepts because he does not want to cause his manager to “lose face” by declining her invitation but he is uncomfortable with a religion that is so different from his. Sharon, encouraged by Yu Li’s attendance at her church, begins to regularly minister to Yu Li and gives him a Bible after his performance review. Sharon’s behavior is an example of:

a. inappropriate workplace behavior — need to keep religion and work separate

b. religious discrimination — Yu Li is being discriminated against because of his religion

c. appropriate workplace behavior — Yu Li seemed interested in Sharon’s religion and she’s cueing off of his behavior

d. sexual harassment — managers should not socialize with employees outside of work

13. John is a savvy engineer who has been to several harassment prevention workshops. When his group goes to happy hour together and he wants to tell a sexual joke, he always prefaces it with “I hope no one is offended by this . . .” and warns that he’s about to tell a racy joke. His approach:

a. is a good way to prevent against unintentionally offending someone

b. is unnecessary since he’s talking off hours

c. has a good intent but no cigar

d. a and b

14. Pierre just came from France to work for a multinational company in the U.S. He keeps in touch with his French colleagues and frequently gets e-mails with sexual cartoons and/or jokes from them. He passes them along to other French colleagues as well as other employees whom he feels have a good sense of humor. If Pierre were to get sued:

a. there is a sixty day leniency cause in the law for expatriates so, while he might hurt someone feelings or offend someone, he can’t be sued

b. from the day a person enters the U.S., he or she is held accountable for U.S. law

c. no matter how long a person has been in the U.S., cultural background is taken into account in a legal situation

15. The number one reason most individuals file harassment or discrimination complaints is:

a. money

b. revenge

c. to cover up their poor work performance

d. none of the above

Click her for answers to the quiz.