I've recently started in an individual contributor role at a new (to me) company. One of the warning flags when I interviewed was a behavioral question (from a peer, not the hiring manager) along the lines of "Have you ever experienced a coworker's comments or behavior that you found offensive, and how did you deal with that?" I thought "Wow, someone's behaving badly, and instead of addressing the behavior, they're screening hires on ability to deal with it". But that con was outweighed by pro factors such as a paycheck, and I accepted the position when it was offered.
Now that I'm on the job, I've inferred that the person that this question was likely about is my boss's peer, who has a reputation as mysogynist. So far, I've only observed one instance of offensive behavior (an inappropriate "joke" photo attached to an email), but I've heard about others, such as similar emails in the past and using the "c-word" in a meeting.
As it happens, this manager's group is entirely male, and now that I've joined, my group is entirely female (the previous person in my position was male). The industry and company are male-dominated, so all-male teams are not unusual. My group is also dependent on the other group for information to get our jobs done, so we are in a lower power position.
The company does have a harassment policy in place, which this behavior appears to me to be violating, in that it creates a hostile environment based on gender. I believe this manager's manager is on the email list to which the offensive photo was sent, and therefore would be aware of at least that instance.
My first order of business is to start making positive contributions to work output, and to establish relationships with members of the other group, including this manager.
However, I also intend to give peer feedback to him if I see other instances of this type of behavior. Something like:
"When you sent out a photo showing X to a work group mailing list, I find it offensive and inappropriate in a professional setting."
If repeated feedback doesn't work, I would speak to the manager's manager, informally first, and then file a formal complaint if necessary. I hope the situation doesn't require the "nuclear option" of filing a complaint -- the main goal is to stop this behavior -- but I'm willing to go there if nothing else is effective.
The often-advised first step in dealing with harassment is "confront the harasser and tell them to stop". I think the peer feedback model is a good way to approach this, since it focuses on the behavior, and shifts the interpretation (i.e., offensiveness) into the consequences part. However, since the peer feedback model omits the change-of-behavior step, there's no room in the model for telling the person to stop the offensive behavior.
How do you suggest reconciling that conflict?
One way that I can see is to make it another consequence: "... and I want you to stop sharing photos like that." That is, it's another aspect of my reaction to the behavior. Thoughts?