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Just got the annual distribution of the harassment policy, and something really popped out at me.

Under "Examples of harassing behavior may include, but are not limited to", one of the bullet points reads:

Comments, either verbal or written, that are interpreted as threatening


It's pretty much boilerplate legalese, but it makes me wonder. I know that intent is notoriously difficult to prove, but relying on interpretation seems disintuitive. I suppose in a legal sense it opens the door for a judge's interpretation of the events, or at least some sort of arbitration. But it seems that leaving the wording as vague as that opens up the door for lawsuits.

I'm just surprised is all.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
lexinatrix
Dec. 9th, 2005 10:28 pm (UTC)
I knew there was a legal precedent for threat being in the eye of the beholder. Usually it's tempered with what "a reasonable person" would interpret as a threat.

It's actually helped in cases of stalking where there hasn't been physical violation of space or home, but threats of violence.
magicmarmot
Dec. 9th, 2005 10:32 pm (UTC)
Mrr.

A reasonable person. Bleah.
lexinatrix
Dec. 9th, 2005 10:43 pm (UTC)
i.e. a judge and a jury of people who couldn't get out of jury duty.
magicmarmot
Dec. 9th, 2005 10:52 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I just hate that it has to go that far before it's decided. Then again, I suppose that I like the fact that there is actually that amount of wiggle room instead of things like mandatory sentencing guidelines, which I despise.

I am now off to rend evil's buns asunder.

Huh? Wazzat? Bonds? It's supposed to be "rend evil's bonds asunder"?

Well, hell.
sybildiscontent
Dec. 10th, 2005 02:28 am (UTC)
when your employer cans your ass for leaving little notes spread about his office that read things like "My, what an impressive rack you have" and "those shoes look great with that shirt...wanna fuck?" you'd better hope that I get called back for jury duty that week.

I'm just sayin is all~
(Anonymous)
Dec. 10th, 2005 06:01 pm (UTC)
Harassment
Years ago a company I worked for put us through an extensive training course on this topic (I think because they were afraid of getting sued due to the actions of the VP of Sales).

It is so very true that harassment is in the eyes of the receiver. And while the idea is that a jury will temper this with “reasonable” expectations, the fact is there’s a social bias to assume the accused is guilty until proven innocent. Especially if the accuser is female and the accused is male (which is almost always the case). There’s just an assumption that the guy is a jerk and really did bad stuff.

At least this was the message in the training we received.

Ever since that training (nearly 20 years ago) I have been _very_ sure to treat women as non-human in the workplace. Not in a bad way - I just mean I treat them like walking brains with no body or personality. Nothing else is safe.

I'll compliment a co-worker's appearance or sparkling wit only if he's a he. If the co-worker is a she I'll remain silent, since even a compliment can be taken as harassment. No being buddies with any female workers…

Sad really, but what else can you do? Normal human interaction with the opposite sex is just too dangerous: with anyone in your workplace.

Is that a form of discrimination? Sure. Is it avoidable? I don’t think so. All it would take is one over-sensitive or even borderline psychotic co-worker to entirely destroy your career.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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