Friday, June 27, 2003

Sorry to beat the topic to the death, but... I was going to lay out a coupe of thoughts about Maureen Dowd's op-ed from 6/25/2003.
I thought I was over my outrage over her column, but putting together my previous posting just got me worked up all over again. Sorry. I am under no illusion that a lawyer would read this post, but just in case I have to ask, "Can the New York Times be sued for creating an intolerable working atmosphere?" I am reading about Legally mandated speech codes at private clubs by Eugene Volokh. I am reading about EU Media and Advertising ban that would
"...avoid throughout all forms of mass media all stereotypical portrayals of women and men, as well as any projection of unacceptable images of men and women affecting human dignity and decency in advertisements." via Samizdata

The strangeness of the EU law we can debate later, but clearly there is a concern here for offending people's sensibilities in public and in private by the two major policy-making apparatuses in the world. Now, surely there is someone, somewhere in the NYT organization who went to a school that does not assign explicit points for being a member of minority, disadvantaged, etc.. Someone who considers themselves worthy of having been admitted on their own merit. (I could be wrong and there is not such a person, but then I do not think we really should worry about NYTimes lasting much longer.) Now that they know what Maureen Dowd and her editors thinks of them - "the tired, poor, huddled masses" - is not the workplace forever poisoned? I do not think I would be able to work next to her, and considering her relative position of authority, can one expect fair and professional treatment from her?

Workplace harassment is defined to cover a broad range of offensive speech: any speech (by the employer, coworkers, or even patrons) that is "severe or pervasive" enough to create a "hostile, abusive, or offensive environment" for a "reasonable person" and for the plaintiff based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and so on. Allegedly bigoted political statements can qualify. So can allegedly offensive humor. [ed - boldface added]

How can this column not qualify as harassment for any person in the New York Times organization who may have been, based on their race or childhood conditions, a recipient of affirmative action?


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