Sexual harassment: Does a good record warrant a second chance?

Electrician First Grade Joel Crenshaw, a married man with three children, was in hot pursuit of Ella Greene, a supply room attendant.
By Raymond Dreyfack December 1, 1999

Electrician First Grade Joel Crenshaw, a married man with three children, was in hot pursuit of Ella Greene, a supply room attendant. He propositioned her repeatedly and inadvertently on purpose rubbed up against her and kissed her on the back of the neck.

Greene’s vehement protests and rejections had no apparent effect on him. “If you don’t cut it out,” she said angrily in the presence of another female employee, “I’m going to report you to Turner.”

“You do and you’ll be sorry,” Crenshaw replied. “It’ll be the biggest mistake you ever made.”

That afternoon, following a pat on the rear end by the electrician, Greene tearfully complained about Crenshaw’s repeated harassment to Maintenance Supervisor Ed Turner. When Turnercalled Crenshaw to account for his behavior, he didn’t deny it. He contended instead that Greene was a prude and he liked to tease her.

“I’m surprised she took me seriously,” he said. “I was only kidding around.”

“Sexual harassment,” Turner replied, “is too serious an offense to be excused by ‘kidding around.’ You’ve had it, Crenshaw. Your termination check will be mailed to you.”

The electrician feigned shock. “You gotta be kidding. I’m a 12-yr employee with a good work record.”

When Turner refused to back down, Crenshaw threatened to grieve.

Question : In Turner’s place, would you give the electrician another chance or reduce the discipline?

Lang’s verdict: “The dismissal stands,” Plant Engineer Markus Lang ruled after reviewing the case. “Crenshaw not only violated company policy, but federal law as well. His excuse of kidding around isn’t convincing, and his good work record in view of the circumstances has no bearing on the situation.”

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