What a bombshell! Extortion allegedly and the sexy goings on behind the scenes are fun and games, till someone gets sued (or as my friends mom used to quip “till someone pokes an eye out”).
In my 30 years in business I’ve been through more “Sensitivity Training” classes, more “Sexual Harassment” classes and seminars to know that in general workplace sexual relationships are a bad idea. They harm the professional environment. They harm the effectiveness of the team. They tend to go wrong at some point in time and then that too has a negative impact on the full group. That is all before you paint the picture from a legal point of view and ask “Is there or was there a Quid pro Quo?” If the answer is yes, then you are bordering on legal issues that will hamper the performance of the group.
According to the interpretive regulations of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), sexual harassment consists of the following: [u]nwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature . . . when
(1)submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment,
(2)submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or
(3)such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. 29 C.F.R. § 1604.11(a) (1997).
Every company I’ve worked for adheres to the “Zero Tolerance” rules against sexual harassment. This is common in the United States and all major corporations have such a procedure. That means that if there is a complaint against an individual in the company. It is taken as seriously as it can be, the incident is investigated and the person can be immediately discharged. No one wants to work in an environment where any of the team members are impeded from working at their best.
Sexual harassment can be brought by anyone in the company who feels the environment is inappropriate and oppressive. This is why companies cannot allow lewd pictures displayed on toolboxes as may have been found in the 60’s and 70’s. This is why jokes in poor taste are discouraged by managers all over the country. People understand that if it is A) Consistent, and B) offensive that it “may” be considered to be sexual harassment.
In the National Enquirer.com there is an article: Dave Sextortion Secrets, someone is quoted as saying: “The creepy relationship that Letterman maintained with Stephanie was obvious and not normal,” a production insider told the NY Daily News. “She was able to do anything and everything. It was pretty well known that Stephanie was the ONE that Letterman was having fun with.“
This is obviously going to be expensive for Mr. Letterman if his wife (since March) Regina Lasko decides to take him to the cleaners. The point is that there is a “potential” liability to Mr. Letterman, World Wide Pants and to CBS for the indiscretion. The environment at the Letterman show was obviously one where people knew that affairs were going on. It is obvious that there was at least the appearance of a Quid pro Quo arrangement, if what is being claimed is true that Ms. Holly Hester rose rapidly through the ranks of the internships at the Letterman show.
As a top manager of a company, that situation is my worst nightmare. I know no one likes the unpleasant ramifications that Letterman has unleashed, but I would be incredibly surprised if there were not lawyers testing theories right at this moment on how to try to get some of the money from Letterman, from WorldWide Pants or from the deepest pockets of all, CBS.
One final note on this: Where is the outrage, the appearance of impropriety statements and the general personal attacks that so many from endured that ended political and business careers such as:
- Gary Hart and Donna Rise from 1987
- Bill Clinton and Gennifer Flowers in 1992
- Senator David Vitter of Louisiana in 2007 and Larry Craig.
- Governor Eliot Spitzer in 2008 as well as Senator John Edwards
- Senator John Ensign in 2009 as well as Governor Mark Sanford
Each of these public figures paid the ultimate price, they ended careers (or severely damaged them, or tainted their legacy) because the press and the people did not let it go. Is it possible that David Letterman can get away with this and come out the victim rather then a key protagonist? If not in the court of law, will Letterman not be judged as those above by the court of popular opinion? I truly do not think the moral compass of the typically center right country will let this go completely unpunished.
The Lee’s Summit Conservative