Let’s pretend you’re a CEO and you’ve been asked to mediate a conflict at your local office. An employee who embraces internet conspiracy theories and carries guns to work is stalking her colleague.
You might wonder — How bad is it? Is this overblown? You ask HR to pull the security footage and see that the employee tries to gain her co-worker’s attention by following her around the office and screaming her name at random moments throughout the workday. When all else fails, this worker takes to the office floor and makes speeches about her associate’s character and integrity.
Do you reprimand this woman? Do you fire her? What if the aggressive employee is white and the victim is a woman of color? Does that change anything?
Those are some of the scenarios I tried to address on CNN New Day, and not everybody was happy with my answers.
Marjorie Taylor Greene is a Q-Anon-loving congressional representative who has been stalking Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes. The anchors wanted to know if that kind of behavior would be tolerated in corporate America. Would HR fire MTG? If there’s a paper trail of abuse, would she at least be punished?
My answer is probably no. What do you think?
Lots of HR ladies (and dudes) told me I was wrong. Of course, Majorie Taylor Greene would be fired. Their companies are aggressively anti-racist, and the employee handbooks have been updated since 2020. And no employer worth their salt would stand for this type of abuse and hostility in the office.
I’m like — okay. That’s a nice sentiment, but not everyone who looks at Marjorie Taylor Greene sees a stalker. Some executives think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes is a socialist witch who has it coming. Others believe that this is nothing more than name-calling and an extension of how women naturally behave when there are disagreements. And some people think this is small potatoes compared to the real issues facing hard-working Americans.
So, there was no way that I could get on national TV and say that MTG would be fired for her behavior at work. That’s because I’ve been paying attention to people like Minda Harts and Madison Butler, who made it very clear that 10 months of book clubs and HR-sponsored zoom chats won’t fix the centuries-old injustices in our country. And I also know that white women like Marjorie Taylor Greene are given the benefit of the doubt in life, even when their offensive behavior is on tape. Katie Augsburger wrote about that nearly a year ago, too.
What I’m saying is that you can tell me that you’d summon the courage of a thousand CEOs and fire Marjorie Taylor Greene, but I don’t believe you. Maybe you’d investigate her. Put her on probation. Ask her to go through a mediation meeting with AOC. But there’s no way you’d send her out on her ass and say, “I dare you to sue me.”
You don’t have it in you because you’d be doing it right now with your worst employees.
Now, please don’t get upset with me — it’s just a thought experiment. The real issue is whether or not Kevin McCarthy has the character and integrity to do something about MTG’s atrocious behavior. Just kidding, we know he doesn’t.
I hope CNN has me back!