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Unaddressed issue of importance--perception of hostile work environment

Posted By: Ross Mitchell on July 29, 2011
I am surprised that there was no mention of whether forgiving the transgression would put the school district at risk of creating a hostile work environment. (Of course, this need not enter the litigation and, therefore, would not have to be mentioned.)

I raise this issue because I wonder whether women (and men, too) who work in the district would feel that their dignity is threatened by an employer that permits viewing pornography in the workplace, regardless of whether anyone was present to observe such viewing. It seems to me that perception matters more than any real experience for employees, as well as employers (the board) and the public that has elected those employers to serve as trustees of their interests in the public schools.

Ross E. Mitchell
University of Redlands

P.S. In the present political climate, it is not clear to me that the following statements remain entirely true today:
"teachers hold an elevated position in our society.... public school teachers are role models at all times—not just when they stand in a classroom in front of their students."
They represent ideals and aspirations much more than statements of fact, I fear. As a consequence, I would be inclined not to offer moral cover where simple protection of executive authority need be the only rationale for the unanimity of opinions among the several courts.
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 Unaddressed issue of importance--perception of hostile work environment by Ross Mitchell on July 29, 2011
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