"Sexual Harassment" ?

Subject: "Sexual Harassment" ?
From: "Chas. Bosdet" <WLFTRIX -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 7 May 1995 07:06:27 -0400

Karen Kay takes exception to a comment by Vince Putman, and makes a couple of
interesting allegations (5/6, "No Such Thing as Technical Editor"). Alleged
denigration and sexual harassment are the topics du jour.

A couple of questions are relevent here and of more than passing interest:
Members of this list deal in language for a living, sexual harassment is the
kind of charge that would demand management attention and perhaps judicial
arbitration, and nearly anyone could become the target of this charge, if the
exchange below is any indication. For now, pretend you're the supervisor of
the employees involved, and the complaint has just arrived at your desk.

The exchange goes as follows. In part, Karen quotes Vince:

>> BTW, David Demyan made the comment about Editors not
>> writing to which I responded: "I have known a few non-technical
>> people who could write very well. They make good Editors of
>> technical documents sometimes -- if they have a very keen
>> sense of what would change the technical content."
>> So there smartie pants, more FACTS.

Karen responds to Vince, in pertinent part:

> I can't begin to tell you how angry this last sentence makes me.
> If we were working together and you said this, and did not
> apologize for being rude and denigrating, it's the kind of thing I
> would go to a supervisor over. It's the kind of statement that
> smacks of sexual harrassment and makes me want to slap your
> face.

Regarding the "so there, smartie pants" comment:

1. Is the comment "denigrating"? How so?

Is it defammatory? Does it belittle the person to whom it was

2. Does the comment constitute "sexual harassment"? How?

Perhaps Karen can explain her point of view, and then members of the list can
discuss (1) whether they'd view the comment as denigrating and constituting
sexual harassment, and (2) how they'd handle the situation as the supervisor.
Let's keep the discussion focused on the language as much as we can.

Chas. Bosdet

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