Sexual Harassment On The Office Essay

2040 words - 9 pages

The Office was an NBC Mockumentary that for nine years followed the day-to-day operations of a mid range paper supply company called Dunder Mifflin. The office manager was an eccentric, at times wildly misunderstood man named Michael Scott. Throughout his time as office manager, Michael led his employees through the gamut of human emotions. In some situations, in the real world, many of the situations that Michael found himself in may have ended with him on the receiving end of a lawsuit. Michael had a particularly challenging time resisting the urge to sexually harass his employees, not just the female employees, but the male ones as well. Due to the numerous inappropriate incidences that ...view middle of the document...

When Oscar Martinez shared his sexual preference with the head of human resources, the HR officer shared the information with Michael. Unbeknownst to Oscar, Michael decided to hold an office meeting to share the news with the rest of his employees, and also give the rest of his office staff an opportunity to come out as gay or lesbian if they choose. This situation was diffused by the companies human resources department, however it easily could have, and almost did end with a lawsuit being brought against Dunder Mifflin.
Michael could have easily avoided this situation if he would have used some common sense. The private matter that was involved in this situation never should have been made public. Toby Flenderson, the human resources manager who decided to share Oscar’s sexual orientation with Michael never should have done so. First, there should be no expectation of privacy between an employee and a human resources officer unless explicitly stated. After all, a human resources officer is there to serve the company it works for. Having said that, there was a definite breach of trust between the HR officer and Oscar because Oscar had asked for discretion when Toby considered sharing this information with others, Oscars sexual orientation had no effect on his workplace responsibilities, and it didn't need to be shared with Michael.
While Oscar may not have had a case because of the outing, Michael certainly did cross the line when he gave Oscar a kiss in front of his co-workers. Oscar did not wish to receive the kiss from Michael, and his doing so may have constituted sexual harassment or sexual assault. Many companies these days have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment and assault. Had this is happened in the real world, Michael may have very easily lost his job. While many of the issues that Michael has within the workplace can be blamed on his poor social skills, many of his mistakes were unforgivable.
The line between what is acceptable office banter and what constitutes sexual harassment may seem to be a thick well defined line, that couldn't be further from the truth. In 1994 a legal secretary by the name of Rena Weeks sued the law firm for which she worked, she claimed that she was the victim of sexual harassment because her supervisor poured M&Ms down one of her breast pockets. She also claimed that the man grabbed at her hips and lunged at her breasts. The man she was accusing was a successful trademark attorney by the name of Martin Greenstein. While this is a clear cut case of sexual harassment of which the plaintiff won, other incidences are not so clear. Take for instance the case of a city employee who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the city for which she worked, for showcasing an “offensive” piece of art. The artwork in question was that of a topless woman painted by a famous artist. Out of court, the city decided to remove the painting because it”violated the city’s own sexual harassment...

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