Thursday, May 1, 2008

C'mon. You know it crossed your mind.

Certain professions become public enemy number one at times: politicians, lawyers, used car salesmen, bloggers, what have you.

So when I saw the Dreadnaught headline Waterboarding Used On Utah Telemarketer, I have to admit that my first impression was fairly positive.

But, of course, it's not that simple:

No one really disputes that Chad Hudgens was waterboarded outside a Provo office park last May 29, right before lunch, by his boss.

There is also general agreement that Hudgens volunteered for the "team-building exercise," that he lay on his back with his head downhill, and that co-workers knelt on either side of him, pinning the young sales rep down while their supervisor poured water from a gallon jug over his nose and mouth.

And it's widely acknowledged that the supervisor, Joshua Christopherson, then told the assembled sales team, whose numbers had been lagging: "You saw how hard Chad fought for air right there. I want you to go back inside and fight that hard to make sales."

What's at issue in the lawsuit Hudgens filed against his former the question of intent.

Prosper Inc. maintains that what the supervisor did, while unauthorized, overzealous and misguided, falls far short of torture, and in fact was not nearly as bad as Hudgens makes out in his quest for damages.

I work for a large company, and our in-house training has repeatedly emphasized that the actions of a supervisor can have an adverse impact, including legally and financially, on a firm.

So it appears that Prosper is sweating it out right now.

Hudgens alleged that if the 10-person sales team went a day without a sale, members had to work the next day standing up; Christopherson took away their chairs. The team leader also threatened to draw a mustache in permanent marker on the face of sales people for "negativity," Hudgens said. Christopherson kept on his desk a piece of wood, "the 2-by-4 of motivation," he said.

Well, now I have a new line I can be used the next time a telemarketer calls.

Does your employer honor Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention?

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