Discussion in 'The Sanctum Santorum' started by Eduardo X, Dec 24, 2012.
I accidentally fucked three people today. You can't even imagine the horror I go through.
Given some coworkers, people have trouble suppressing the need to vocalize their desire to fuck other people. These people have the problem however, not the attractive women in their sights.
edit: just to expand a bit to help people with marital issues if you have a hot coworker. There is a huge gulf between thinking "god bless yoga pants" and saying to her "god bless your yoga pants". There is an even larger gulf when you start texting her about her sexual habits. I mean, that last one should remain unsaid, but apparently we can't have nice things.
As a long time manager/director in companies in at will states, I can attest to some crappy things that go on. More than once, when in Chicago, I had to convince our CEO to not walk in and fire someone because of some stupid something that pissed the CEO off at that moment. In one case, he had given the guy a cash award about 4 weeks earlier. In another case he had already told the HR Director to write things up because --- well, I'm not sure I ever knew what. I asked him, OK, this person works for me, just what am I supposed to tell him, that he pissed off the CEO somehow and that you (the CEO) can't handle criticism so he's fired? How will that sound to the rest of the company? (BTW - the CEO eventually took me out because he decided he didn't like me telling him that the company's product line had been commoditized, which did not fit in with his desired business model. Just called me in, said time for me to go, be out in an hour.)
I understand the concept of hire at will/fire at will, but I really don't know of any good manager who would object to having to put together some kind of rationale and documentation and process before firing someone. Even in right to fire states, the better companies I worked for still had a process for firing, even though it was not legally required, in which we documented, communicated to the employee their performance was not acceptable and this is what needed to be done for them to keep their job (in writing and in person,) had two level review including HR, further documentation, and then, when the firing occurred if it did occur, final documentation of the steps taken and why the termination took place. The only time we didn't do that was in the rare case in which an employee crossed some clear line (e.g. stealing from the company, behavior that was blatantly unacceptable and so far across the line more than a warning was warranted, etc.)
It's just not that hard to set some kind of threshold and process if management is professional.
Yep. I just wish that if wasn't such a difficult hurdle in so many cases.
Ignoring all the inappropriate comments he made, I thought the issue wasn't that he was afraid he couldn't control himself from fucking her, the issue was that his wife didn't think he could control himself from fucking her.
Which makes a lot of the hand-wringing over retardness seem off-point to me.
You would actually need to be ignoring everything shift6 said, which was the proximate cause of Elyscape's frustration. As to the case itself, while there are legal distinctions between who exactly got what fired, there isn't much of an ethical distinction between "my wife thinks I can't control myself and thus must fire a woman who has no desire to have an affair with me" and "I must fire this woman because I can't control myself, even though she has no desire to have an affair with me". When the law makes it permissible to do so without recourse and the only defense of this is resorting to straw men about mandatory employment as if they had direct bearing on the case relative to at will employment mentalities, then you open the door to questioning either judicial interpretation or the laws themselves.
At no point are we running out of reasons to wring hands.
Shift, "what is the appropriate handling in abstract for consensual relationships at work" is an interesting question, and I don't really have an off-the-cuff answer for it, but I don't think it applies. I think "dude can't handle his unrequited desire for woman reporting to him so he fires her" is either mental illness or SKO bizarro sexual harassment.
I am continually dumbfounded how much time and money is spent on dealing with and regulation People Who Don't Know Any Better, but I guess that's how it is.
Eh, I just don't have a good immediate answer to how to change things off the top of my head. That you can get seemingly insane perfectly legal results like this seems to be a bit of a problem though.
Georgia is an At Will state. If you are fired, you can collect unemployment, which the employer has to pay. If you quit, you cannot collect unemployment, which saves the employer money. If you are fired and the company files paperwork saying you quit, you have to get a lawyer and go to court in a he said/she said battle which will cost you more than the unemployment money you'll get. I've had two periods of unemployment since joining the workforce proper, and in both cases I was fired (one was because my boss was stealing credit for other people's work and I caught him gave the evidence to his boss and they fired me instead, the other was because the project I was on was cancelled) and in both cases the paperwork filed said I had quit. I've never collected unemployment even though I should have had every right to.
Quite frankly, if his dick is this much of an unbearable, insurmountable obstacle to his emotional health and the ability to run his company like a mature fucking adult, there's only one thing that should be getting severance, and it's not the dedicated employee of ten years.
To be clear, you're saying shift6's hypothetical in-pants-keeping problem, not the actual details of this case, is the reason we're getting posts with things like these:
So it's just a dumb derail?
In fact, it was remarkably clear to what aspect of his posts he was replying to.
No, I don't agree with that. I think perhaps it wasn't the most constructive direction in which to take it, but replying to the part where shift6 asserted that firing someone to avoid having sex with them was a situation where you could put yourself in their shoes was an important part to respond to. Elyscape runs into the problem in internet discussions where simply by not letting someone get away with bullshit you seem unduly stuck on a point, but that's sort of the nature of the beast. But unless you are implying that responding to shift6 at all is a dumb derail, then I think it's as important as any other aspect of the conversation, especially if we are talking about the broader power dynamics and sexism that frame the case.
This brought up some other good points I hadn't considered before that I'd like to submit, especially to
Alexb as a genuine question. Earlier you made the point (reminder: I agree) that if the doctor were less of a jerk he would have at least provided say 12 months severance and so forth rather than what he did. Thinking about what Hanzii wrote here, I'm wondering if such a move could be considered almost like a pay-off to help ameliorate any guilt the doc may have had about the firing. What I mean is: if we accept one month was shitty (reminder: everyone here does) why do we think twelve months makes things better? It doesn't seem to change the ethical/legal/discriminatory/other implications of the case at all but just attempts to buy away guilt. Would you have been just as fired up about how shitty this was if at least the guy paid her off? Are eleven more months of pay "good enough" that this wouldn't have even been a court case? I'm not saying it well but I hope you get the picture; just trying to understand your thinking better is all.
I don't personally agree that any time someone makes a really poor decision it must be caused by mental illness. I don't know what "SKO bizarro" means, but the PDF link to the case indicated that the dude was terminating her employment specifically to avoid the future potential of sexual harassment and of the future potential of causing marital problems. Whether those are good reasons or not, whether he made a good choice or not, whether he acted ethically or not, whether he could have been a tad less reactionary or not, none of those things sing out to me that the guy has a legitimate mental illness.
Likewise I don't consider a forum member who can't seem to resist clicking "reply" to a troll mentally ill just because once every few months he can't muster a couple extra points in willpower. It doesn't make his decision right, but it also doesn't put him in the category of someone who should look up some professionally assisted care. Nor is someone who "can't stop eating those delicious cookies in the office kitchenette!" mentally ill. And both seem equally impulsive and simple as someone in the office making an off the cuff remark like "damn your ass looks great today." Boom, sexual harassment. Illegal. Actionable. But mental illness?
That's what most regulation is: putting reasonable rules in place to provide decently black-and-white guidelines for people who don't know any better.
It's probably a bit pie-in-the-sky to imagine any regulation that answers every nuance of every scenario at any time. That's why courts are there. They aren't there to tell everyone what the law is, they're there to apply it to the particulars of a case.
Making the Doctor pay for firing the employee serves a number of purposes. First, it goes some way towards compensating the employee for her experience, which is obviously a pretty terrible one by any standards.Second, it promotes behaviour modification in the employer and other employers like him, because it makes the pay for their own misdeeds. Under the current regime, the employer has no reason to avoid similar shitty behavior in the future. Third, it provides some time for the employee to find a new job -- the current economy is pretty bleak, and even for a skilled dental hygenist I doubt a new, comparable position will open up in the near future.Ultimately damages in employment law, as in all areas of law, are about compensating the wronged party and deterring the wrongful actor from similar behavior in the future. It is not about assuaging guilt or whatever.
I don't think anyone in this thread truly believes that Dr. Knight is mentally ill; they're just responding to his allegation (and what appears to be your own position) that anyone could be in a position where they "could not help themselves from sexually harassing someone". I don't think everyone who acts impulsively is mentally ill, but anyone who is truly unable to control their impulses to the extent that they cannot help but harass others needs mental treatment. It's no different than someone who is incapable of handling anger except through violence.
Thanks for your response. It seems like some (not all) of the outrage in the thread was based on him not giving her enough severance and I was wondering how that might have changed your views specifically, especially w.r.t. the legal/moral side of it.
My point was that everyone has impulses that we act on because no one has the Iron Will perk, and while that doesn't include what in this context amounts to rape it can quite easily include making comments that are sexual harassing as defined by law. Perhaps people were hyperbolizing a touch, but the issue came up often enough in the thread that it seemed worth asking one of the people who repeated it.
Course, I got torn seven new assholes for failing to agree to the correct degree so maybe I'm reading too much into everyone's posts now. ;)
Well, where does this understanding approach to failures of willpower end?
If I can't resist killing a hooker every now and then, are you going to shrug your shoulders and say "eh, nobody's perfect?"
In my world, there's a big gulf between a minor transgression like feeding a troll in a forum and a serious one like sexually harassing an employee.
For example, everybody gets mad in traffic sometimes. By and large, they do not resolve this by pulling their revolver out of the glove compartment and firing off a few good solid retorts to the guy who cut them off. This isn't because most people have superhuman willpower, is it?
Of course there are lines. That's what the law is there for: to describe the lines and provide dis-incentives for crossing them in their various degrees of badness. But I don't lump them all together and then call all failures of will fucking retarded, nor do I lump together all failures of will as mental illness, nor do I consider the failure of will to make inappropriate comments the same as an office orgy.
FWIW, I view the line between making an ill-advised comment in the office and blowing up on a forum troll significantly thinner than the line between making an ill-advised comment in the office and having an affair in the office. But I don't claim to be some Wittgensteinian Übermensch who has clearly delineated in advance the fine nuance of every conceivable legal/moral/ethical situation either. But it is worth noting that seven justices, some with clear socially progressive cred, unanimously decided that the guy's actions (as morally reprehensible as they were) were not illegal the way that sexual harassment is.
Sure, but we were talking about his "I wouldn't be able to help myself" justification, not whether the judges thought his present actions were sexual harassment.
I understand why the judges ruled the way they did, but I think it's an unfortunate problem with current laws. That doesn't in any way preclude me from having an opinion on whether not "she's so hot I wouldn't be able to help myself even though she has no interest whatsoever" is valid reasoning.
I don't think you mean to be minimizing the issue of sexual harassment, but it's not hard to read your comments about willpower that way, and that's kind of troubling.
Anyway, if this guy actually can't keep himself from either firing or harassing attractive employees, I tend to think he's just not cut out for having employees in the first place. Making his fuckups very very expensive would be a nice way to encourage that particular outcome.
You're the only person here who considers this a "failure of will", though. I don't accepts that this is a "failures of will" or a mental illness. It was an intentional act from a person in power towards an employee. I don't think sexual harassment is ever a "failure of will", any more than I think sexual assaults are ever a failure of will. So basically I think this: "My point was that everyone has impulses that we act on because no one has the Iron Will perk, and while that doesn't include what in this context amounts to rape it can quite easily include making comments that are sexual harassing as defined by law" is not at all true.
Well, judges ruled the other way in similar cases in my jurisdiction. Further, judges are on the wrong side of issues with some regularity. If you want to defend their decision, do so on the merits, rather than just appeal to their authority.
I think it's important to separate acceptable reasons for firing someone from our natural desire to punish douchebaggery.
Just a few hypotheticals:
1. Is it acceptable for a business to fire an employee who becomes romantically involved with another employee, if the new relationship threatens the business?
2. If so, should the business be bound to fire both employees? Or can it choose which one is more valuable to the business? Does it matter who initiated the relationship?
3. What if the business is threatened by the mere appearance of a relationship? Is the business required to prove that a romantic relationship exists before acting?
From my understanding of the case, it seems that the court decided it's acceptable to fire either employee, it doesn't matter "who started it", and it doesn't matter if a relationship actually exists.
In that light, the only uncomfortable part is that the person doing the firing is also one of the two employees who threaten the company. But sometimes the price of consistency is to reward douchebaggery.
I don't really understand why you would feel that's an accurate framing, especially when you keep referencing a romantic relationship that didn't actually exist. What constitutes the "threat" to the business is crucial, particularly when it's essentially borderline-to-actual sexual harassment as interpreted by a jealous spouse. Moreover, it's not two employees, it's the immediate superior and his employee, which is an altogether different dynamic and recognized as such in a wide variety of cases. It's not surprising that court would boil it down to the merits of a wholly abstracted version of the case as if the precedents from consensual relationships and the like applied directly, because boy howdy is a prescriptive "letter of the law" approach popular when it favors management in frameworks like those in at-will states. But the uncomfortable parts are, in fact, the meat of the story. Recognizing that something is legal but unjust (as opposed to merely "douchebaggy") is an important first step to reforming laws, or at least addressing them in the proper light.
I don't understand how you could get those questions from this case, given that in this case there was no romantic relationship in the first place, and the "relationship" involved the employer and an employee, not two employees.
That's fair. After a few pages of strawmen and willful misrepresentations, I'm constantly having to go back to see if I did say something either ignorant or just unclear. It's troubling (to me) that the discussion was filled so quickly with condemnation that few really bothered. Look how many times I had to repeat things to the same people over and over just to get them to stop repositioning my POV incorrectly.
I consider sexual harassment a failure of will, not firing the employee. I also don't consider either mental illness, that would be other people in this thread with whom I'm disagreeing.
I'm curious why you don't consider sexual harassment a failure of will. I'll agree that there are people who have no will in this area (say the archetypal "douchebag" for whom simple wolf whistles would be an improvement) but on the other hand it seems there are people who compose themselves appropriately most of the time but occasionally, perhaps due to a difficult day or high emotions from some other event or just because that's how their brain chemistry is pumping that morning, spout out some locker room lingo about the new girl's smoking hot bod. What would you consider it?
I'm deferring to their expertise in the unanimous nature of their ruling. This may put me on the wrong side of the issue, but it doesn't reflect the poor judgement of, say, those implying that seven white males could never really make a just decision in such a case. I also respect that your jurisdiction has found differently and this is why I'm asking your thoughts (and expertise, if I may appeal to your authority) on the matter besides yay or nay. For example, it may provide to us in the US a more reasonable framework for future law rather than our forum fist-shaking that carries even less weight than an online petition.
Jason McCullough pointed out, the employer's wife was also an employee. This is where the potential for business-wrecking potential and other parties to sexual harassment come in to play in my view.
I consider it an intentional act, just like hitting a spouse or drinking and driving. I'm seriously blown away that you think people are unable to control themselves in a basic way. Anger is the best analogy I can think of. Everyone feels some amount of anger; practically everyone is able to control anger without getting violent, and those that cannot control their anger need treatment. They certainly should not be allowed to make others suffer for their anger, nor should their violence be brushed off as a "failure of will", whatever it is you think that means.
Lets be clear: I have no expertise or authority. I am just expressing my opinion.
The rest of your reply is beyond the pale, but this particularly is easy to address. There is simply no way to twist McCullough's clarification of the wife's status into this case being centered around the relationship between two employees. You can't just randomly sort the elements of the case until they make an entirely different case.
You know what is really baffling? Well, something else really baffling in this case? Why in the heck, in an at will state, the Dr. used this as a reason for firing her. He didn't have to give any reason at all, other than "I want to make a change" or "I don't think you have a long term future here, and that is all I really want to say about it." The whole point of an at will state is you don't have to provide a reason for the firing - so to give this one is really stupid on this guy's part.
To be honest, I'm blown away that you use drunk driving and wife-beating as examples for comparison to wolf whistling at the hottie in the office, when it comes to controlling oneself. I'd argue that the thing that causes/drives/motivates/etc some angry dickbag to punch someone else is nowhere near the same league as the thing that causes/drives/motivates/etc some angry dickbag to whisper "fuck you jerk" under his breath.
My opinion of the case came after I read the articles and the PDF file from the court. Jason's clarification exposed something I had missed but that the court had not. My acknowledgment of this is not some post-hoc change in my view or in the case or some subtle later addition, only an important point I missed that explains further the judges' decision (whether or not we agree with it).
I think it's beyond the pale to spend pages misrepresenting someone's view and then whipping up a virtual mutual admiration society about the wrongness of the one so vilified. Seems even stranger when that person agrees largely with the general opinion but the gaps intentionally pushed in are done for feelings of general scorn rather than honest differences of opinion. You're well acquainted with these tactics in online arguments; it is surprising to me that they receive a tacit approval as long as they're against someone you don't much care for to begin with. But I suppose that reservoir isn't going to spend itself, yeah?
Well, sorry, but drunk driving, spouse beating, and sexual harassment are all intentional acts that no one is compelled to do. Obviously they can range in degrees of seriousness, but they are not different in terms of being the product of intentional choices. "Wolf whistling at the hottie in the office" is not as bad as punching your spouse (although it is pretty reprehensible IMO), but it is equally avoidable and equally intentional.
Fair enough, I'll just agree to disagree here.
My guess is that yes, he is an idiot. :P
LOL, yeah, I guess that goes without saying (though too late.) I would guess that he thought it would go easier, the firing, if he sat her down and said, hey, listen, you're a great worker, but you've just become so attractive to me that my wife is becoming a bear at home and is worried our relationship is going to move to the next step, so, hey, it's better for everyone if you don't work here anymore. Thinking, perhaps, that she would take it better if he put it that way. Who knows, maybe thinking "this way I can maybe stay in touch with her, and if she's not at work who knows what may happen that my wife won't see!" And being stupid enough to never think of her suing.
At least if you work in a decent sized company you have HR, etc. to set guidelines and keep a manager from saying stupid things (though obviously that doesn't prevent those from happening, duh.) As a doctor or dentist running a private practice with, I'd guess, maybe 3-5 people working in the office, he's probably had zero management training. Not making excuses for his idiocy, just reasons.
You use the passive voice over and over again as if that safely abstracts things away from requiring evidence. While at many times it is unclear whether you are saying inappropriate or wrong things with a clear idea of what they mean, most people have been extraordinarily patient in addressing what you say.
So this is one such "mistake". You keep repeating that it's a failure of will, which is not just a cute psychological turn of phrase. It implies (and is used in your arguments to support) that it is beyond a person's control to give in to the temptation of escalating his contact with an employee he finds attractive. You've alluded to an "iron will" trait being necessary to overcome this.
What does that leave us with in terms of responsibility for actions? You've at times acknowledged the behavior in question is wrong, but then you fall back to this position that makes it a simple human failing that the employer is actually dealing with relatively constructively by firing an employee before his testicles invariably led him astray (no matter that she has done nothing to encourage it).
This neutralization of the issue makes it sound like gender-oriented whitewashing. It shifts responsibility to an abstract force of nature rather than acknowledging the responsibility of the man to not make decisions about the future of other human beings on the basis of his penis.
Failure of will is, again, not just a turn of phrase. It removes responsibility for an action and treats simply being an attractive woman (and it's almost always a woman) as a form of incitement. I don't know if you think these re-organizations of the issue are constructive, but they are at the very root of why you feel put upon.
It doesn't put you on the "wrong side of the issue" to say that the ruling was legally correct. To *me* that means that the code or the interpretation is poorly adapted to a modern workplace because it permits such rampantly sexist and inappropriate outcomes, but reasonable people can disagree on the unintended consequences of modifying the law one way or another. In this case, my goal would be to build a space between sexual harassment and discrimination that ensures that you can't just fire people without consequences because your wife is afraid of your lousy self control. That is part and parcel of why at-will was brought up, in that this likely wouldn't be an issue at all if workers had even the modest level of protection that exists in states that don't explicitly set up their legal systems to favor employers above all.
Where it gets more bloodthirsty is when you build ethical constructs out of whole cloth in order to rationalize this outcome. Your failure of will framing accompanying your opening assertion that this was a situation where "one" could empathize with the employer by putting yourself in his shoes; your allusion to facts we don't know and frequent reference to the inability of "internet experts" to accurately represent the case; you start talking about consensual relationships between employees and the implications of those without drawing a clear line between the facts of those hypotheticals and this actual case, and so on.
Each of these on their own could be a fire to put out, but you keep adding more and repeating them, long after they've been responded to. Put together, they constitute muddying the waters at best and misleading arguments at worst, and they appear to contradict your claim that you think the outcome fundamentally unjust. If that's the case, then why do you struggle to build reasons why it would be justified? It just makes it sound like you're too fond of technicalities that only you perceive as important and are willing to take down the rest in their name, which is also the impression I have of how the "at will"-"right to work" thing escalated long past its relevant points of disagreement.
Why are you talking about people whispering things under their breath? Alexb explicitly framed his comparison around everything else that his view of law and ethics do not include under "failures of will", which again abstracts away responsibility from the person who chooses to act criminally or in a civilly liable manner against another person.
Which still does not make this a case about relationships, consensual or otherwise, between employees. It does matter that the judges were using cases that included consensual relationships between employees and the like to form their judgment, because it betrays a fundamental lack of nuance in their approach to their case. You can chalk that up to passive sexism as I do, but it's not the same thing to say that others are missing this or that it somehow changes the accuracy of their statements in non-specific ways.
You were wrong then in a number of ways, and now you're wrong in different but related ways. Blithe ignorance of what your posts mean is not a defense when people respond to them strongly; I'm happy to defuse these things when I think it's a misunderstanding at the root of it, but I have no qualms about agreeing with people when their fundamental point is accurate. I don't think there's a misunderstanding here, except that you seem to overestimate your ability to be both clever and accurate. I suggest you choose one and stick with it for a bit when you feel there's a clear gulf between what you are saying and what you meant.
The issue is that from an outside standpoint, it's a textbook example of a "bad" reason to fire someone that should be protected. If the employee did nothing, but the firing party did a number of things wrong, we tend to view it as firing for an invalid reason. The problem is that with how much we've eroded worker's rights, each of those reasons needs to be specifically called out in advance it appears.
To give you the alternate "what if" scenario: If the employer made advances on an employee, then fired them after said employee rejected the advances, we call this Bad under sexual harassment. But this case basically calls it out as only bad because we've specifically carved out sexual harassment as a bad reason and not because the behavior in general is bad (employer firing employee for non work related sexual reasons, regardless of employee's involvement in such)
If she'd been sleeping with the boss? Go nuts. Since she absolutely wasn't, the firing is questionable as hell, because it comes across as very analogous to being terminated for failing to do something of a sexual nature. Sadly, we're in a country that considers a company to be the sole plaything of an employer barring extremely narrow lists of things you absolutely cannot do. In this thread you're seeing people having issues squaring away what on paper appears to be sexual misconduct on the side of the employer, and it's only not a sexual harassment case because the employee didn't lodge a complaint before being fired for it. But the mitigating factor for the employee appears to be that there's no real evidence she participated at all. If everyone in the office thinks Jane from accounting is hot as hell, that's not actually a reason to fire Jane, and HR would chew you the fuck out for suggesting that they fire her for being attractive. When you remove that sanity checking layer and just have the boss as the person with the problem, we get into sticky issues about exactly how many protections an employee should or should not have.
I'm not sure if you mean this generally or in the context of existing worker's laws, but
Is something I don't agree with. At a minimum, the burden for consequences (if they must happen because they impede work or violate fraternization policies or what have you) should be borne by the two participants rather than just one, and I think it should be at least as unfavorable to the person on the upper end of a power dynamic than the one on the lower end.
Other than that, I agree with your points but I wanted to underline that.
Oh, I think both parties should be punished in the case of actually sleeping together (company policy not permitting it of course, as long as nobody is involved by force), but I just find it a giant gap between "I sent her sexy texts that she laughed at and ignored because creepy!" and "I sent her sexy texts and she came over and we bumped uglies!" as far as who should be punished for the behavior. This case is so objectionable entirely because the party that didn't reciprocate was punished for the actions of the party that did something.
Ha! I don't think you're guessing anything here bud, the guy is a font of poor judgement.
(and aren't we all sometimes)
Solution: hire your sister-in-law as the HR rep?
I accept that I'm not very good at expressing my views and at being clear about the "cute psychology" and other "constructs" from which I'm approaching a topic. On the other hand I don't see hyperbole, misrepresentation, vague insinuations about character, or flatly false statements by others as teachable responses concerning my blithe ignorance and the vast gulf between my presumed cleverness and accuracy (and let's be clear: I'm not referring to alexb's replies). One small for instance, above you present my "fall back position" as calling his termination of the employee "dealing with it relatively constructively" which is patently false. It's only by making these subtle changes that you can place my point of view as closer-to-sexist-than-comfortable, from which objections follow naturally.
No one is obligated to form a teachable response, nor is that a fair standard. The golden rule is a fair standard, but only if you assume that what you said has no possibility of being anything but a neutral academicization of the question at hand or is understood as such.
It's by reading what you actually said that I arrive at these conclusions. For instance:
coupled with your comment about "iron will" being necessary to resist such temptations and your broader gestures at how some people just have weaknesses and so on creates a comprehensive picture. Mostly, there is no other reason to persist in framing the issue as a failure of will unless you couple that with a shifting sense of where the responsibility for preventing "future harassment" lies. Which, ethically, is on the employer not to do that, rather than on the employee to find a new job because her employer can't help himself by his own reckoning and that of his wife. From that there are a number of interesting and contradictory connections to the legal code as interpreted in this case, but you're going right to the ethical question at its core when you say these things.
It creates a composite picture of your position. You can keep restating them in progressively less incendiary terms under the (correct) assumption that people will generally lose patience with the argument as a whole and start to view every part of it as equally annoying, but that is a tactical maneuver rather than one that substantively addresses the difference of opinion.
So, why did you re-frame the issue as a question of the inherent fallibility of will?
For what it's worth, I get the impression that shift6 is earnestly trying to discuss this but isn't aware the degree to which he's entering the discussions with a strong disposition that affects his commentary and framing. I don't find his comments truly disingenuous or from a position of bad faith.
It was dumb as shit to say anything and it is the entire reason they ended up in court.
I run a company in an at-will state (Nevada). Iowa might be different, but when I checked their labor laws it did not seem so. When you fire someone, you have two options:
1. Have an iron-clad, documented justifiable reason and use it (reserved for cases like firing an employee due to theft, violence, threats with witnesses, repeated insubordination, absences, drug or alcohol use). Say nothing to the employee when firing them (unless your state's laws mandate you must).
2. Say not one goddamned word (reserved for everything else, including this case in particular, mostly because the ruling stated this firing happened "through no fault of the plaintiff (woman)").
Really it all comes down to avoiding litigation and paying unemployment out. Unemployment is paid out by the company that fires the employee in many if not all states. If you've ever wondered why you've worked at a place in an at-will state and they won't fire the worst employee on payroll, that's probably why. That and firing someone isn't easy, because literally nobody thinks they deserve to be fired no matter how shitty a job they do.
The only way a company gets out of paying unemployment is if the former employee is denied such, and that is where option #1 comes in. A company has to justify to the state why the employee was fired and prove it was indeed the employee's fault. #2 is when a company is fed up with the employee for whatever reason, but there's not enough documented proof to go on, or maybe they're just having to lay someone off. This is why you see layoffs happening well before a company's profit margin drops, or why seasonal hirings get cut earlier than expected, and why the open position isn't filled for a period of time. Or why employees are often abused to prompt them to quit, another way out of paying unemployment.
I have had to fire several people in the 10+ years I have worked in management for a variety of reasons ranging from utterly justifiable to economy-related to we're just tired of your shit but have poor documentation. Even when I've had reasons, I haven't said explicitly to the employee when firing them, I save it for the state. I say nothing. This dentist probably felt guilty about firing her and said too much. It's hard not to, honestly, especially when the firing is under flimsy pretenses, ie the worst time to ever say anything.
It took practice, it's weird firing someone and avoiding answering that question. I once had to threaten filing harassment charges against an ex-employee because she would not stop calling our office demanding an answer. I hated doing that but these are the laws, (she was a horribly incompetent employee who I fired 3 days into her service, this wasn't some long-standing capable employee). I usually just use misdirection and weasel-wording like "I know this is difficult, but this was the decision, and it is final." Or I literally say nothing. I also have a witness. I typically do it at the start of the shift, and tell the employee I paid them for the hour they drove down there and back, or right at the end if the reasons become evident and the employee is not scheduled to come in the next day. On the rare occasion I have fired someone mid-shift, I tell them I am paying them for the rest of the day.
I also don't sleep much at all the day before and after the firing, even if the employee was practically begging to be fired. It's a vile and emotionally taxing thing, and people who enjoy firing people are scum in my opinion. A good take on firing people is approached in the film Up in the Air, which finds all kinds of reasons to be depressing!
Sorry if that was a derail. I'll add that Wardell was an idiot to counter-sue, he just should have kept his big trap shut, but we all know that by now.
Also I am a single, painfully handsome man surrounded by gorgeous impressionable young female staff members and I manage not to sniff their hair and fondle myself at work every single day of the year.
I wait until I get home
I thought unemployment wasn't a direct charge, just an "insurance" style program where they charge you a fee per employee based on past claim rates.
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