It’s God’s Fault

Immediately I thought, “No!  This can’t be true!  Are you kidding?  They must be twisting his words or misquoting him.  Who would actually say something like that?”  Nope, my friend wasn’t exaggerating.  Within thirty seconds of searching the internet, I was watching a video of Bill O’Reilly blaming God for the multiple sexual harassment allegations that have been brought against him.

In the video, Bill O’Reilly says “You know, am I mad at God? Yeah, I’m mad at Him. I wish I had more protection. I wish this stuff didn’t happen. I can’t explain it to you. Yeah, I’m mad at Him.”

O’Reilly’s comments about blaming God came two days after the New York Times revealed that O’Reilly allegedly paid $32 million to settle a sexual harassment claim by former Fox News analyst Lis Wiehl.  Ms. Wiehl accused O’Reilly of sending her gay pornography and other sexually explicit material, repeated harassment, and carrying out a nonconsensual sexual relationship.

Dad vs. Trial Lawyer

After I watched the video of Bill O’Reilly, the dad and trial lawyer portions of my brain started having an internal argument.  As a dad, I hope that none of my children become the victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or similar traumatic experiences.  As a dad, I also hope that I’m providing age-appropriate guidance to my children so that they will know that it is never ok to sexually harass anyone.

As I continued to contemplate, I realized that I have already achieved a small parenting victory.  Bill O’Reilly is 68 years old.  My three children are under the age of 10.  Unlike Bill O’Reilly, my children already realize that they are responsible for their actions and blaming God for their personal actions will get them nowhere.

The celebration of my parenting success was short lived because I realized that my children’s lack of blaming God is based on common sense and has very little, if anything, to do with what my wife and I teach our children.

As the internal argument progressed in my mind, the lawyer portion of my brain reminded me of the importance of evidence and the fact that we don’t know all of the evidence related to Bill O’Reilly’s alleged sexual harassment.  However, I tend to agree with Gretchen Carlson who received a $20 million settlement for her sexual harassment claim against Bill O’Reilly.  Gretchen tweeted “Nobody pays $32m for false allegations – nobody.

I’m willing to change my assumptions of Mr. O’Reilly if additional evidence is revealed and the evidence shows that he’s not at fault.  But sitting around and waiting for evidence doesn’t accomplish a dang thing.  Something needs to be done now.

Sexual Harassment & Sexual Harassment Claims Can Be Avoided

For a moment, I’d like you to set aside your views on politics, the media, and Bill O’Reilly.  I don’t care if you’re liberal, moderate or conservative.  I also don’t care if you think Fox News is the only credible news source or if you think they’re full of bologna.  Let’s set that aside for a moment and talk about one thing we can all agree on.  Sexual harassment is not acceptable.

Here are 10 tips that can help prevent sexual harassment and sexual harassment claims:

1 – Remember that all of our perceptions are different. Something that you consider playful or lighthearted might be viewed as offensive or inappropriate by someone else.  Consider how others might view your comments and actions, and act accordingly.

2 – Review your company’s rules, policies, and procedures regarding dating and reporting sexual harassment. Make sure that you steer clear of any potential violations that could bring harm to someone or put your job at risk.

3 – Hold one-on-one meetings in locations that allow everyone involved to feel comfortable. Consider leaving the door open during these meetings, holding them in conference rooms that have glass walls, or meeting in an open space.

4 – Statistics show that it is more common for women to be the victims of sexual harassment, but remember that sexual harassment can happen to either gender and can be related to a person’s sexual orientation or sexual identity.

5 – Avoid dating colleagues. If you do ask a colleague on a date, don’t ask them a second time if they already turned you down.  Additional date requests could be interpreted as harassing.

6 – Be extra cautious at work functions that include alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol will impair your ability to accurately read social cues or know if your co-worker’s actions are truly voluntary.  The safest bet is to limit your alcohol consumption and err on the side of caution by not having any intimate interactions with coworkers at such events.

7 – Don’t date subordinates. Consider switching departments or companies before asking an employee you supervise on a date.  The power dynamic in employee/supervisor relationships is complicated and may open the door to confusion and harassment.

8 – If you’re accused of sexual harassment, retain an experienced attorney. Be honest with your attorney about all details related to the accusation and do not attempt to destroy emails, text messages, or any other items that might be considered evidence.  The same rules of preserving evidence also apply to those who have experienced sexual harassment.  Be sure to reach out to your Human Resources Department, manager, or law enforcement if it is appropriate.

9 – Do not attempt to have any contact with an accuser if you have been accused of sexual harassment. Likewise, sexual harassment victims should avoid contact with the perpetrator.

10 – Have common sense. If your gut tells you that something is inappropriate then don’t do it.

To The Victims…It’s Not Your Fault

To the victims of sexual harassment, I want to encourage you to hold your head high.  Some people will try to justify sexual harassment by pointing out that the victim was wearing a specific type of outfit, that she put herself in harm’s way by working late by herself, etc.   The bottom line is there is no excuse for sexual harassment, and if harassment occurs, it’s not God’s fault.

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