Off-site Workplace Harrasment?
Q: Four members of a company's middle-management
hold an off-site working lunch in a restaurant,
during company time. Two of the party hold a
more senior title to the others but all are on
the same "level" in the company's org. chart and
are considered peers back at HQ. The two
directors are male, the others female.
1. As the meeting was off-site, but attended by
company employees and on company time, does the
hostile work environment that was allegedly created
extent to the restaurant where the meeting occured?
2. As the discourse that ensued was equitable and
all four parties were eager participants, AND no
complaint was lodged back at HQ, was the group's
director within his/her rights in disciplining one
of the group?
A: 1. Yes. Even though it is not part of the actual premises, the employees were conducting business for the company and being paid for it. Same as any employee attending a workshop at another location not owned by the company but the employee is paid for the time. Had it not been paid by the company,then it would be a different issue. 2. Yes. Again, ON COMPANY TIME. Would the person behave the same way AT the company rather than in the restraunt setting? That's the way it looks in the eyes of the company. I had something similar happen to me a few years ago. We were in NJ performing conversion work on data files. The office manager (female) took us into NYC for an outing (on the company credit card). We got taken several places and wound up in a micro-brewery. There was one other guy from the NJ office and two ladies from our GA office. We were seated at a row of 2-person tables with the Office Manager across from me. Out of a clear blue sky, the Office Manager leans over the table, looks into my eyes, and says "So... Do you fool around?". (My term for this is BFO - Bald Faced Offer). My answer was something like "There are delicate southern ears present - I must decline an answer at this time". She dropped it (there is something about women making BFOs - I've gotten about 6 BFOs now and in every case, the slightest hint of a hesitation and there's no further hope of any further pursuit on her part). On the way back to the motel the other ladies commented "I can't believe she did that".
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