Reader Forum

Drawing the line on sexual harassment I have a couple of comments regarding the October 2000 Human Side of Engineering case, "When "love" turns sour.
By Staff February 1, 2001

Drawing the line on sexual harassment

I have a couple of comments regarding the October 2000 Human Side of Engineering case, “When “love” turns sour.”

Plant Engineer John Altshuler needs a refresher on sexual harassment.

1. If it can be demonstrated that supervisor Bill Parker had made promises of job benefits to Sue Calhoun in return for sexual favors, at that point he was guilty of violating the law. The supervisor does not have to succeed in obtaining those favors, nor does he/she have to actually follow through on the promises.

2. After employee Sue Calhoun broke off the relationship, further advances by supervisor Parker were “unwelcome,” and clearly again violated the law.

3. Plant Engineer Altshuler’s view that prior complaints about sexual harassment are required to validate an employee’s claim is illegal. If it comes to light, the company is wide open for a major settlement against it.-Jeff Lentz, Senior Engineer, Reemay, Inc., A BBA Nonwovens Company, Old Hickory, TN

In my opinion, the November 2000 Human Side of Engineering case, “Sexual harassment: Where do you draw the line?” is totally off the mark.

The comment that “litigation tends to imply that women cannot protect themselves” really disturbs me. Both women and men should be provided an environment free of harassment of any kind. It is the responsibility of the employer to provide this kind of environment and women should not be responsible for “protecting themselves” from sexual harassment at the workplace. If pressing charges is what it takes to get a company moving on this issue, then that is what I believe should be done. The type of harassment described in this article, whether it be common place or not, is inappropriate, grotesque, and unacceptable.- Dee Dee Vittitow, Eastman Chemical Co.

Readers respond to gun control issue

In regard to the incident in the December 2000 Human Side column, “Tightening up on gun control,” why is there no mention of the police being called? The man was waving a revolver and the security guard was the only one called in.

From the information presented, it would seem that Mr Ingersol was open to being charged with assault, assault with a deadly weapon, reckless and/or illegal discharge of a firearm, reckess endangerment, and disturbing the peace. Responsible gun owners do not support the behavior exhibited by Mr. Ingersol.- Roger Eacret In “Tightening up on gun control,” an employee is fired for having a gun on company property. The point being made is that a company can enforce its rules regarding gun possession on its own property. The fact that the employee threatened another employee with a deadly weapon is grounds not just for termination, but for a criminal assault charge.Termination in this case would be appropriate regardless of any policy on gun possession.

On the other hand, employees, especially in rural areas, may go hunting before or after work. Should they be terminated for keeping a shotgun or rifle in their vehicle in the company parking lot? How would a company enforce the rule? Inspect vehicles daily? This is not a simple issue. Michael Mattison, Lincoln, NE

Wrong number

The phone number for the author of “Using plastic for compressed air piping” ( PE , January 2001, p 46, File 3510/4030) was incorrect. The number is 888-446-4226.