I know that last week finished my series on the top 10
bogus harassment excuses, but I just couldn’t resist one
more as I was recently reminded of this special case,
THE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY ABUSER
I’m sure you know the type. This is the person who
proudly proclaims that “I offend everyone equally,
regardless of race, religion, age, or gender.”
And you can find this person telling ethnic jokes,
uttering racial slurs, screaming at people, throwing
things, and in general just saying and doing offensive
things with pride.
HR CONTRARIAN POINTER: The interesting part of this
defense is that it is extremely difficult to prevail in a
court case, but not impossible.
You read that correctly – it is possible to prevail in an
equal opportunity abuser case if (1) there is impeccable
documentation of the abuse across all protected groups AND
(2) management can prove that it had taken corrective
action as soon as it was aware of the abuse.
Unfortunately in most organizations, management tends to
look the other way because the equal opportunity abuser is
a VIP or high level management employee. As a result,
plaintiffs are often awarded significant sums of money
because management just didn’t have the guts to confront