How to avoid a colonoscopy gone bad in your workplace

The Stethoscope, Peru
One of my very best readers, a true HR all-star, forwarded to me this article from Tom Jackson at the Washington Post, about a colonoscopy gone wrong. Actually, the procedure was a success. However, the patient hit record on his smartphone before the anesthesia kicked in.

And what he recorded resulted in a $500K jury verdict for defamation and medical malpractice against the anesthesiologist and her practice.

Friends, I know your managers throw shade at employees behind their backs. And employees gossip about co-workers. This information doesn’t have to be recorded to create nightmares for your business. Indeed, the point of this post is remind your workforce that all it takes is for the target to accidentally overhear the abuse — especially, if it’s based on a protected-class characteristic — to have the makings of a discrimination claim.

So, say it with me: It does not matter whether the speaker intended to have A-B conversation. If C overhears it, then don’t be surprised to see it later in court.

Image Credit: By Alex Proimos (Flickr: The Stethoscope) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
  • Defamation is the great un-mined gold of the workplace for Plaintiff’s Attorneys. The technical elements of malice and publication are, at least in California, liberally construed so that an employer can be tagged by what, on first shameful blush, would seem a “private internal communication.”