Employees offer an array of creative excuses when trying
to defend their actions in what is known as a hostile work
environment harassment case.
Here is excuse #10 of the top 10 excuses:
“I’m Tooooo important.”
This is also called the “prima donna” defense.
If you look-up the definition of prima donna, you will
find it to be “a person who takes privileged treatment as
In other words, this is a Very Important Person (VIP) who
recognizes his/her status and privilege in an organization
and uses that status to engage in activities that other
employees wouldn’t even dream of doing. However, when
those “privileged activities” cross the line to be
classified as harassment, management has a problem.
HR CONTRARIAN POINTER: Just as courts hold management
employees to a higher standard and higher level of
scrutiny, courts also expect a higher level of discipline
and control from VIPs.
The lesson for those of us in management is that our VIP
non-management employees can drain company resources in
defending law suits as quickly as management employees if
we fail to reign them in.
For me, the most interesting part of every VIP
disciplinary case that I have been involved in, is the
fact that the VIP reacted with outrage that anyone would
even dare to confront him/her about an activity.
In all honesty, it is this outrage and outright hostile
behavior on the part of the VIP that often deters
management from confronting the VIP. But sooner or later,
management must act. Besides, that’s what we get paid the
big bucks for.