Is it ever appropriate for men and women to be alone together at work? (Not everyone thinks so)

A new poll reveals that a startlingly high percentage of people are wary of being alone with someone of the opposite sex even in work situations.

Last week we found out some of the surprising things that men and women in relationships consider to be cheating. While some people are shockingly liberal (sex and oral sex isn’t necessarily infidelity), others just as astoundingly uptight (going out with someone “as a friend” constitutes cheating.) You can read that story here.

What about in a professional setting? How much interaction can men and women have in the workplace without crossing lines? U.S. Vice President Mike Pence made headlines back in April when he was quoted as saying that he would not eat a meal alone with a woman who was not his wife.

This caused an outcry of sexism as it disadvantages females to be denied those one-on-one opportunities to network with such an influential office.

It turns out that the V.P. isn’t alone in his beliefs. The New York Times followed up on that story by commissioning a survey of thousands of Americans about how they feel about working with the opposite sex. The results show that they’re actually quite nervous about it.

The poll found that many men and women are ill-at-ease with one-on-one situations. Roughly a quarter actually think that private meetings with someone of the opposite sex are inappropriate. Most think that going out for dinner or drinks with a coworker of the opposite sex is unacceptable.


Source: New York Times

Now the poll was of Americans, and while there are many similarities between their culture and Canada’s, there are differences as well. I think those are showing here. Just about every professional I know has had lunch, ridden in cars, and of course had one-on-one meetings with people of the opposite sex. As far as I can tell, nobody felt uncomfortable about it, and there was nothing ‘inappropriate’ about the interactions.

The NYT survey did further break down the attitudes of respondents by demographic lines.
For guys, it’s Republican, less educated and more religious men are more likely to say these meetings are inappropriate.

Among females, younger women, particularly those who say that religion is important to them are more likely to feel that meeting alone with men is not okay.

How about you? Do you think – or have you ever encountered anyone who felt – that work meetings between people of the opposite sex were inappropriate? Please, share your thoughts with us.

Source: New York Times | Americans wary of being alone with the opposite sex

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