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Sexual harassment: The vice that won’t quit

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on March 16, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
March 16, 2010 6:41 pm

Fans of Mad Men know that what we call sexual harassment used to be kind of OK with a lot of people. That was, what, 50 years ago? The world has changed.

Supervisors who’ve forced their attentions on subordinates, or just grossed them out one time too many, have been fired, shamed, sued, exiled, denied promotions – their misbehavior often emblazoned in headlines, reported on television and recorded for all eternity by the Internet.

Now the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber stands to lose $1.18 million after two former employees persuaded a jury that they’d been harassed by one of its managers. (Memo to boss: It’s not OK to pat the help on the butt, even if you’re a female and he’s a male.)

Why, oh why, have managers (not to mention one notable ex-president and other holders of high office) kept on doing it? I’m tempted to conclude that human alpha males (lately, alpha females too) are hardwired to feel some sense of sexual entitlement to the underlings. All the more reason to penalize the fools.

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