Eight Memories That Would Make Your HR Person Cringe
An extremely powerful man frequently hit on his 20-something male employees.Rating: Immoral, unethical, unwise, possibly actionable.
Sexual harassment allegations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain have rekindled debate over inappropriate workplace behavior. Katie Roiphe argues in the New York Times that we've gone too far in protecting women from office banter. Then again, for every indictment of political-correctness-run-amok there’s a counter-claim on behalf of thoughtfulness and common sense (the multi-culti workplace adds complexity; my strategy is to err on the side of caution and good manners). At 49, I look back at things I’ve seen at work and wonder how once-routine behavior -- sexual and otherwise -- would fly today. Some of it was wrong, some creepy, some harmless; a lot of it still happens, if less openly. None of these incidents occurred at Ziff Davis Enterprise or its predecessor companies; all of the businesses involved turned out good work and generally-undamaged people. The ratings below of morality, ethics, wisdom and possible legal consequences are judged by me, by today’s standards.
Ed Cone has worked as a contributing editor at Wired, a staff writer at Forbes, a senior writer for Ziff Davis with Baseline and Interactive Week, and as a freelancer based in Paris and then North Carolina for a wide variety of magazines and papers including the International Herald Tribune, Texas Monthly, and Playboy. He writes an opinion column in his hometown paper, the Greensboro News & Record, and publishes the semi-popular EdCone.com weblog. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Lisa, two kids, and a dog.
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