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Sunday, August 19, 2012


larry kurtz

If the shoe fits, Ken: I expect fat, white South Dakota franchisees are already lining up.


Donald Pay

I deal with these issues daily in my job.

First, I think there is a problem when the boss, any boss, becomes involved in preaching and cajoling in these areas. Having family friendly policies, like being able to take time off for sick children when necessary, is one thing. Preaching to or asking personal questions of employees repeatedly can be considered workplace harassment. Further, employers don't get to pick employees families, so if your employee is gay or unmarried, it isn't your business, and it may be illegal to mention it.

Now in work situations human resources departments or a small business boss will know certain facts about you because these have to be disclosed in forms the company keeps for personnel or tax reasons. These are protected by law from disclosure, and any boss who uses that information other than what is required by law could be in deep legal trouble.

But, also in work situations there are normal human interactions between supervisors and co-workers, and an employee often discloses much about his or her personal life freely to people you come to trust at work. In these situations, asking questions, workplace teasing, etc., would not be suspect, unless the person makes it clear that he or she does not want to talk about such things. Then continued discussion or behavior along those lines could be considered harassment.

Ken Blanchard

Donald: thanks for the informative comment. I agree that there are problems with bosses that try to interfere in the lives of their employees. There is a big difference, however, between annoyance and harassment. Such legal terms as "hostile work environment" and "quid pro quo" are intended to deal with that.

I don't think that there is any evidence that Schumer crossed the legal line. I continue to think that there is a double standard.

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