<i>Dear Workforce</i> How to Handle Roommates at Our Annual Conference

November 12, 2002

Dear Roomies with a View:

If money, time, geographical constraints and psychological defenses could besurmounted, I would provide cultural/gender diversity training for all beforethe annual meeting. However, being limited to the real world, consider thisoption: give all attendees a designated time period for choosing a roommate.After the cutoff date, those without roommates will be randomly assigned one.This procedure does not put the spotlight on sexual orientation or sexual fears.

All parties, at least theoretically, have some freedom to choose. Some maydecide it’s too much effort to make a choice, but if there is a discretionarytime period individuals may be less disgruntled about the random assignment.

However, at your annual meeting, I suggest having some diversity/HIVmythology training within the context of knowing your product, the medicalcondition, the customer and client, the broad marketplace, etc. A speakeroutlining how a greater amount of objective knowledge and a smaller amount ofemotional bias could enhance sales success likely would have significantmotivational value regarding behavior, if not underlying attitudes.

Please let us know what course you ultimately followed. And the results.

SOURCE: Mark Gorkin, LICSW, The StressDoc, Washington, D.C., Sept. 30, 2002.

LEARN MORE: Read Avoiding Sexual-OrientationDiscrimination

The information contained in this article is intended to provide usefulinformation on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice ora legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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