Talk about bizarre.
At yesterday's Sexual Harassment Seminar, we learned how dangerous it is for workers to communicate with other workers in a corporate environment.
Understand, I'm against sexual harassment (or any kind of harassment) at work, or anywhere else, but the law, as currently written, is so vague and lopsided it not only permits abuse of the system, it actively encourages it.
Consider this: The definition of sexual harassment is anything that causes an individual to feel sexually harassed.
Basically, that's it. Totally subjective. By law, it doesn't matter what anyone else (except a jury) thinks about the behavior involved; it doesn't matter what the "offender" intended; all that matters, legally, is what the person offended "perceives."
For example, I could be in the office with a female secretary, look at a photo of two watermelons in a fruit-growing contest, and say, "Wow, those are big melons," and whammo, I could be slapped with a sexual harassment suit.
Think I'm kidding? I'm not. As far as I can tell, from yesterday's seminar, the female secretary has a perfect right, under the law, to file a complaint, and a lawsuit. I don't even have to say it twice; according to the seminar, one incident is enough to constitute sexual harassment.
In the example I've given, the plaintiff would in all likelihood not prevail at trial. But she (or he, because it doesn't have to be a woman) doesn't have to... because according to the lawyer giving the seminar, 98% of these cases are settled out of court. By settled, I'm assuming that means the plaintiff gets paid off. So, in effect, just the act of filing a sexual harassment suit practically guarantees a payday.
That's what I mean about the current system actively encouraging abuse.
And by the way, in these kinds of suits, the individual "offender" is also a defendant. Meaning that your money, potentially, is also on the hook. And the hook is completely subjective.
So, to sum up, the best policy, as far as I can see, for anyone working in a corporate environment is...
Don't interact with anyone, anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
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