One of the posts on my blog that gets a lot of angry comments is the one where I explain why women should not report sexual harassment at work. The problem with reporting workplace sexual harassment is that none of us is going to change policy single-handedly. There is a huge risk with little reward if you report the harassment to human resources, because the law dictates that HR doesn’t focus on your problems — HR must protect the company, not you. When you report harassment, you become the company’s problem.
So a lot of people naturally ask, “How are we going to change things if no one reports the problem?” But no one changes corporate America by sacrificing her career. Which is what you end up doing if you report harassment. You lose your job. Not legally, but for some other reason. Because it’s so easy to fire someone and so smart for the company to fire anyone who complains about harassment.
You can say that’s unfair but you can’t say it’s not reality. You are better off taking care of harassment yourself, and staying in the game and getting power at work to make change.
Here’s a great example of how that happens: Judge Kimba Wood, of NYC, receive a request to be excused from court for a Bris (the Jewish circumcision ceremony). Judge Wood’s response (which I verified) is a great moment for girls, and women, and for everyone, really. She shows us that if you do a great job at work, you can use your stature to make small earthquakes when you have the chance: