Monday, August 24, 2009

'Seinfeld' joke gets man canned for harassment

Per the story below, a man was fired for sexual harassment in part because he played along with a running gag that was the subject of a Seinfeld episode. In the episode, the characters decided that saying “God Bless You” after someone sneezed seemed pretty silly and meaningless. So they decided to say something that would better brighten a person’s day. And this phrase was “you’re so good looking!”

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090823/news01/908230361&s=d&page=3#pluckcomments

According to the story, the women at the work retreat actually started to play around with this phrase with each other in a joking manner. However, when John Preston repeated this phrase (probably trying to fit in with the group) one of the women became uncomfortable. And a woman feeling “uncomfortable” is now enough legal reason to fire a man.

Ironically, if John Preston was deemed good looking and charming, I doubt any sexual harassment charges would have been filed.

Modern sexual harassment laws are not based on objective rules. Previously, sexual harassment was when a man insisted that a woman provide sexual favors in return for rewards at work. The definition of sexual harassment has now been broadened to include any activity that might make a woman feel “uncomfortable.” Of course such a vague definition leaves most men at risk based on the whims of how a woman should interpret an action. And such whims can definitely be influenced based on attractiveness of the man. For example, the average woman would tolerate much more crude behavior from a powerful and charming man such as Bill Clinton that she would from a short and ugly man.

Corporations are quick to fire the man when there is any doubt. This helps to reduce their legal risk. The only exception is if the man in question should be non-white. In such a case the matter gets trickier because you have to appease the gods of feminism and the gods of racism.

The whole modern concept of sexual harassment is something out of the old Soviet playbook. Like the charge of being a counter-revolutionary, the definition is vague and just the accusation is enough to condemn a man without a trial.

2 comments:

  1. Would it make you uncomfortable if I said your blog is getting really big?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I suspect that will change. :-)

    ReplyDelete