Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Saturday, October 18, 2003

A Few Different Takes on Sexual Harassment

A quick look at sexual harassment issues in the news the last couple of days provides a look at some odd twists that pop up now and then. First, there is the City Council member in Waukesha, Wisconsin who refused to attend a "mandatory" sexual harassment training video. Saying he had grieved the same issue when employed at GE when he felt the presentation was too one sided, he is not concerned about any ramifications. The mayor, probably somewhat overstating the case, was beside herself claiming that the City would 'loose' [sic] any sexual harassment claim brought against it because of Hilden's refusal to attend. GMToday which reports on news in the Greater Milwaukee area has the story.

A similar negative view of how far the issue of sexual harassment has come is the subject of a novel by Stanley Bing, a pen name for CBS executive Gil Schwartz. Unfortunately, You Look Nice Today is gently panned by rival publication Forbes. The reviewer sums up both the plot and his view of the book rather succinctly:
The moral of the story is that the business place has become so drenched in sexual harassment hysteria that almost anyone in a position of power is a potential victim of false accusations. Unfortunately, what is unjust and outrageous in real life doesn't always translate well into fiction. Sometimes it falls painfully flat on paper.

And finally on a slightly different note, the woman who filed a complaint of sexual harassment against the President of Middle Tennessee State University was "stunned" that her complaint could be come public, based on her reading of the university's sexual harassment policy. She has obtained a restraining order preventing the Board of Regents from disclosing it following a request from the Tennessean newspaper, which has the story. The policy provided that complaints would be as 'confidential as possible', but of course there are those issues of public records which newspapers always take seriously, particularly when scandalous matters are at hand.

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