Harrassment or Witch Hunt?
Today, I am taking on the silliness of some of the findings of harassment recently reported in the San Jose Mercury. The allegations were that a comment or two was made over a period of years or a woman manager had a temper and occasionally yelled.
We wanted to protect vulnerable women and men who were being bullied and exploited. That was the intent of the laws about sexual harassment. We wanted to protect the more fragile and conservative among us and so created the concept of a hostile work environment - so that all could feel psychologically safe.
Look at what's happening now! Have we gotten out of control? Are we suggesting that the world has to work in a "hot house" environment where no emotion, no fun, no frivolity can ever occur? Are we suggesting that an expletive once in a blue moon creates so hostile an environment that people ought to lose their jobs because of it?
Or, has a new industry developed? Do we now have a cadre of investigators who make their money by finding reasons to get someone fired?
Let's get sensible. A hostile work environment is one in which a "reasonable person" would be uncomfortable. The legal standard is about reasonable-ness - not just finding that once in a long while someone did something mildly inappropriate.
We are not pure. None of us is perfect. We all slip once in a while - how can we fire someone for such minor infractions?
Am I going to be burned at the stake again - for now taking this one on?