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M

Mc

Guest
When does a rude, critical, personal remark by a supervisor cross the line and become harrassment?

 


I AM ALWAYS LIABLE

Senior Member
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Mc:
When does a rude, critical, personal remark by a supervisor cross the line and become harrassment?

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

My response:

There is no known "demarcation" line for this sort of "Political Correctness." I would imagine, however, it depends a lot upon the sensitivities (or "thin-skinned") nature of the person receiving the remark, and society's "morality" of the day. It's very much akin to asking the definition of pornography, when the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice, the Honorable J. Potter Stuart stated on the subject: "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it."

IAAL

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L

lawrat

Guest
I am a law school graduate currently awaiting Bar results. I offer the following as mere information, not to be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship.

If a person had extreme sensitivity and the indidivual making those remarks knew about it, then he would be liable. If he knowingly made false statements about you or never the checked the accurary of his statements, he is liable.

If that crude remark by a supervisor targets your profession or personal ethics or personal life, that crosses the line as well.
It is not merely "I know when I see it". This area is much more defined and more well thought out than pornography.

hope this helps.
 

I AM ALWAYS LIABLE

Senior Member
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by lawrat:
I am a law school graduate currently awaiting Bar results. I offer the following as mere information, not to be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship.

If a person had extreme sensitivity and the indidivual making those remarks knew about it, then he would be liable. If he knowingly made false statements about you or never the checked the accurary of his statements, he is liable.

If that crude remark by a supervisor targets your profession or personal ethics or personal life, that crosses the line as well.
It is not merely "I know when I see it". This area is much more defined and more well thought out than pornography.

hope this helps.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


My response:

You are going to make one hell of a litigator, Lawrat !! My only comment to yours, however, is that we are dealing with a very nebulous and "undefinable" area; e.g., how do you define "extreme sensitivity" or "crude remark" under the law? What may be "acceptable language" to me, might be wholly unacceptable to you. How can you quantify "hurt feelings", sufficient enough to make certain language actionable? Today, something might hurt your "feelings" and tomorrow, those feelings may change. What was acceptable speech of yesteryear, may not be acceptable today, and vice-versa but how do we "know it when we see it?" I have never been a great advocate of "political correctness" because that term is so nebulous, and because to quash speech, in any manner, is to trample upon the First Amendment, which endangers all of us, whether in the workplace, or on the "protest" trail. Think, for just a moment, how "politically incorrect" things were in Martin Luther King's day, and the concepts he espoused. Today, we have a holiday which celebrates the concepts for which he stood. And, what about Rosa Parks' Freedom of Speech when she refused to move to the back of the bus for a white woman? Yesterday, we jailed her. Today, we celebrate her. One day, your feelings are hurt, and the next, it's accepted speech. We all suffer when we think or talk the way "someone else" wants us to think and talk.

It was nice to talk with you. I hope you don't get offended by my views.

IAAL

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By reading the “Response” to your question or comment, you agree that: The opinions expressed herein by "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE" are designed to provide educational information only and are not intended to, nor do they, offer legal advice. Opinions expressed to you in this site are not intended to, nor does it, create an attorney-client relationship, nor does it constitute legal advice to any person reviewing such information. No electronic communication with "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE," on its own, will generate an attorney-client relationship, nor will it be considered an attorney-client privileged communication. You further agree that you will obtain your own attorney's advice and counsel for your questions responded to herein by "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE."



[This message has been edited by I AM ALWAYS LIABLE (edited April 18, 2000).]
 
L

lars coltrane

Guest
Generally, I do not read case law in the employment arena. My gut says that one comment has probably led to litigation, but I don't know what the courts have done. I suppose it depends on the nature of the comment - whether it is directed at one's skill (e.g. I have never seen a bigger idiot than you) or is it race based, with the latter being a comment that a court would consider more carefully.

I think, again without having read caselaw, that court's have to consider comments on a case by case basis. Different professions have different norms and customs, so comments do depend on context as well as content.

 

I AM ALWAYS LIABLE

Senior Member
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by lars coltrane:
Generally, I do not read case law in the employment arena. My gut says that one comment has probably led to litigation, but I don't know what the courts have done. I suppose it depends on the nature of the comment - whether it is directed at one's skill (e.g. I have never seen a bigger idiot than you) or is it race based, with the latter being a comment that a court would consider more carefully.

I think, again without having read caselaw, that court's have to consider comments on a case by case basis. Different professions have different norms and customs, so comments do depend on context as well as content.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


My response:

Thank you Lars.

And there we go, we've come full circle on this matter and we still have not answered this person's question: "When does a rude, critical, personal remark by a supervisor cross the line and become harrassment?"
because there is no way to tell whether if something acceptable is said today, but will not be accepted tomorrow. At many points in our history we have seen these examples - - negro, Afro-American, Black, and with every generation, they change.

I can honestly say, I do not know what is, or what the "actionable" definition of, or whether it's "harassment" to use, a "rude, critical, (or) personal remark." I'll leave that, I guess, to the ages.

IAAL




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By reading the “Response” to your question or comment, you agree that: The opinions expressed herein by "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE" are designed to provide educational information only and are not intended to, nor do they, offer legal advice. Opinions expressed to you in this site are not intended to, nor does it, create an attorney-client relationship, nor does it constitute legal advice to any person reviewing such information. No electronic communication with "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE," on its own, will generate an attorney-client relationship, nor will it be considered an attorney-client privileged communication. You further agree that you will obtain your own attorney's advice and counsel for your questions responded to herein by "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE."

 

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