Dr Josephine Kinge – Lecturer in Human Resource Management, University of East Anglia, UK and Editorial Board member of IPED.
Reflecting this morning after taking an online training module as part of my institution’s commitment to Equality and Diversity – I am glad to say that I got 100% correct Phew!
I think that it is not so much staying within the law that is a challenge per se but instead it is the regulation of individual behaviour and making individuals aware about how their behaviour is perceived by those that they interact with at work.
Later on the same day I read an article in the BBC News magazine about “inappropriate” sexual behaviours and specifically whether you should ask someone’s permission to kiss them? The online article brought up issues and debates such as the one about consent and how it should be established and also the importance of old-fashioned manners and how we behave with one another. The article goes onto the wider debate about the role of legislation in regulating this behaviour and the problem that it is open to interpretation. As Catherine Hakim says in the article “Law is far too crude to be used to regulate social interaction” but some would argue there needs to be a safety net and that while legislation is not the whole answer or perfect solution – it is a necessary part of the answer to ensure that we don’t risk moving backwards.
A more important point is made by Professor Frank Furedi in the same article that people should be able to trust in their own judgement and should be encouraged to do so by their employers. – It is important to have that confidence and a maturity because if we simply follow the rules (some would say blindly) we lose our ability to judge what is appropriate by learning to read other human beings.
This leaves me with a number of thoughts and reflections about the role of legislation but perhaps more importantly – it left me considering whether we can teach judgement in these situations.