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Gender Issues Training. Are You Guilty of Sexual Harassment or Offensive Talk?. Sexual Harassment. Sexual harassment is described as : Unwelcome sexual advances

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Gender issues training

Gender Issues Training

Are You Guilty of Sexual Harassment or Offensive Talk?

Sexual harassment
Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is described as :

  • Unwelcome sexual advances

  • Requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance

  • Creating a hostile, intimidating, or offensive working environment.

Example 1
Example 1

At a Regionals tournament a young female referee from one state was being hit on by a National Candidate referee from another state. This was her first trip to Regionals and she did not want to date him while she was there. The NC referee was not taking “NO” for an answer.

She befriended one of the female referees in the Iowa delegation and the two of them tried to deal with the problem by themselves. Their attempts to get the Referee to leave her alone were unsuccessful. The young female referee ended up hiding in the Iowa delegations party room when she was not with her own delegation.

The Iowa group ended up as her protectors for the 6 days of the tournament. She remained with them so that the referee could not take advantage of any situation that might present itself.

Hostile environment
Hostile Environment

  • Is an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment on the field or in the classroom.

  • This includes sexually based comments or jokes, within earshot of anyone, which are distasteful and or uncomfortable to work around.

Example 2
Example 2

During a pre-game situation at a girls High School match the AD told the crew that there were dressing room facilities for them to use if they wanted.

When the AD had left, one of the crew members looked at the other two crew members, one of which was female, and said that they should use the dressing rooms to strip search the players to find the pierced jewelry that some of the players wear.

The female referee did not like this comment, but didn’t say anything to the referee that made it.

Harassing behavior
Harassing Behavior

Include but not limited to:

  • Offensive or prying questions about a person’s private life

  • Explicit propositions after the target has indicated a wish that the propositions or comments cease

  • Ridicule or insults which have a gender or sexual tone, content or overture.

  • Allusions to or threat of rape, or attempted, or actual sexual assault.

  • Offensive motions or gestures suggesting sexual acts.

Harassing behavior cont
Harassing Behavior (cont)

Sexually explicit comments or obscene and or suggestive remarks that the recipient deems objectionable or uncomfortable

Offers of benefits or advantages in exchange for sexual favors, or threats of reprisals for negative responses to sexual advances.

Off color jokes typically constitute sexual harassment and are the single most common factor contributing to a hostile environment.

Verbal harassment
Verbal Harassment

The use of demeaning gender based term may include but are not limited to:

  • Honey

  • Sexy

  • Little Girl

  • Hunk

  • Toots

  • Broad

  • Sweetie

  • Darling

  • Babe

  • Any reference using body part terms

Physical harassment
Physical Harassment

  • Some people respond negatively to a hug or a pat.

  • If you wouldn’t hug or pat a member of your own gender, then don’t do it for a member of the opposite gender.

  • If you are not certain whether or not touching in any particular way is acceptable…….Don’t touch.

  • Handshakes are acceptable to everyone.

Example 3
Example 3

With the referees who have been around for years there are some that do a lot of traveling. There are a lot of friendships made with “out of state” referees, both male and female.

When they see each other at the different tournaments they will hug each other or give them a kiss on the cheek or other friendly gestures. This is acceptable behavior.

Example 4
Example 4

At a tournament one of the female referees was being asked constantly for a hug or a kiss. The male referee would put his arm around the female referee and try to pull her closer to him.

She complained to the tournament director of referees about the situation.

The director talked with the referee about his behavior. The male referee had to apologize to the female referee and then was sent home from the tournament for his actions.

Hazing harassment
Hazing Harassment

This type of harassment will crop up when men or women enter an environment that is traditionally dominated by the opposite gender.

Examples include:

  • Incidents of crude or inappropriate behavior are initiated because of a persons gender.

  • Using gender based abusive and derogatory language

Example 5
Example 5

  • At some of the upper level venues there will be situations where you will be sharing locker rooms. Some people have different ideas of modesty and need to make sure that everyone is comfortable with how the changing room situation is dealt with.

  • At a PDL game, a female AR went with another AR to help check the players uniforms and IDs. When the Male AR announced that there would be a female assistant to help him check the IDs and uniforms the response from the locker room was that everyone was decent. When the two ARs entered the locker room one of the players was totally nude.

Fine line between attraction and harassment
Fine Line Between Attraction and Harassment

  • Harassment has very little to do with sexual attraction. Sexual harassment is about the misuse of power or the abuse of working relationships.

  • If you give a compliment on a person’s appearance and they tell you that they have little or no interest in hearing your comments… then stop.

  • If you ask a person for a date and they say “NO”, then drop the subject.

  • Do not repeat unwelcome advances

  • Do not retaliate against people who have rejected or rebuffed your compliments or requests for a date.

Example 6
Example 6

  • At a tournament a female referee was being assessed by a state level assessor. The assessor liked the performance of the female referee and in the feedback session he told her that she was “a good looking referee.” Her reaction to that comment was not favorable even though the assessor meant the comment as a compliment about her performance as the center of the game.

  • A lot of explaining had to be done in order for the female referee to feel comfortable again. The underlying reason for the female referees reaction was that she had been harassed by an administrator in her home state when she requested assessments. She was very sensitive to comments about her looks.

Prevention of sexual harassment
Prevention of Sexual Harassment

  • Ask yourself, would you communicate with the opposite sex as equals rather than inferiors or potential conquests?

  • Do not refer to a person by a sexual pet name. Use their given name or title such as the Center or AR.

  • Listen when you are told “NO”. Do not continue to ask for a date or continue to make crude, unwanted comments.

  • Do not be overly sensitive to the “Guy or Gal Talk.” It is going to happen when a group gets together. Make sure that if it bothers you, say something to the individual or the group so that the discussion changes.

  • Object to what is being said if it makes you uncomfortable. If you don’t say anything to the person that makes you uncomfortable then nothing will change.

Prevention continued
Prevention (continued)

  • Treat people the way you would want your loved ones to be treated. Would you want these types of things to happen to your wife, daughter, mother or any other loved one in your family?

  • Use proper etiquette when addressing the opposite gender or are in mixed company. You don’t have to be talking to the person that you have offended, they may have simply overheard what you said.

  • Think before you speak.

  • Identify the chronic offender so that the proper administrator can deal with him/her.

  • When you put on the referee uniform you represent the USSF, the IHSAA, the IHSGAU, NISOA, your local association or the club that your kids play for, don’t embarrass yourself or the uniform.


  • As you progress in your career as an official you will be working with and on occasion traveling with fellow referees. You are all special people and need to treat everyone with the utmost respect and dignity. If someone mentions that you have offended them you need to respect their position and take responsibility for your actions and apologize.

  • Jokes and stories are usually very cultural in nature, what some people laugh at may offend another person in your group. You need to know that history is full of offenses committed, unintentionally in most cases, against races, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation.

  • We do not all come from the same background and do not all have the same sensitivities. Respect when someone tells you that you have crossed the line and that it must stop.


  • What is the key word regarding sexual harassment? (A) Rude (B) Vulgar (C) Unwanted

  • If you feel you are in a hostile environment how should it be handled? (A) Report it to the administrators (B) Leave the area (C) Object to the behavioral tone.

  • When entering a locker room of the opposite gender with a mixed crew, what is the best procedure? (A) crew member of same gender enters first (B) Both Enter at the same time (C) Have the team come out of the dressing room

  • What physical contact is always appropriate with a mixed gender crew? (A)Slap on the back (B) Handshake (C) Slap on the butt

  • If someone makes a statement that makes you uncomfortable what is the appropriate response? (A) grin and bear it (B) object to it (C) polite chuckle

  • If someone objects to a personal statement what is the appropriate response? (A) Do not continue or repeat those remarks (B) make fun of them for not seeing your side (C) try to convince them they are wrong