Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Sexual Overtones and The D.C. Corporation Counsel: An Error of Logic

"Although Freedman may have honestly believed that everything that happened to him had sexual overtones, the nature of the evidence precludes a finding that the Department’s contrary conclusion was in any way arbitrary or capricious." Brief of Appellee District of Columbia, Freedman v. D.C. Dept. Human Rights, D.C.C.A. no. 96-CV-96 (Sept. 1, 1998).

My response?  Simply because an employee offers an opinion -- in response to his employer's questions -- that everything that happened to him had sexual overtones does not mean that the employer's proffered explanation for his termination, that the employee was mentally unfit to work, is worthy of credence and in accordance with law.

Note that the Corporation Counsel seems to posit an error of logic formally known as a "false dilemma."  The employer was not faced with only two questions, namely, (1) Is this employee in fact a victim of harassment? or (2) Is this employee mentally ill as evidenced by his incorrect beliefs?  There's a third conclusion that the employer and the D.C. Department of Human Rights ignored:  Does this employee have an incorrect opinion of his work environment, but an opinion that does not mean that he is mentally ill and unfit for employment?  Perhaps I was simply wrong.


Gary Freedman said...

I find it interesting that the firm's alleged psychiatric expert, Gertrude R. Ticho, M.D. was a Freudian analyst, trained in Vienna.

Dr. Ticho's professional career was based on seeing a sexual overtone in everything her patients said.

Q.E.D. Simply seeing sexual overtones in everything people do does not mean a person is mentally ill. Maybe he has the mind of a psychoanalyst.

Gary Freedman said...

The post states three interpretations of my harassment complaint:

1. I was mentally ill, and the complaint was a product of that illness; my work environment was nonharassing.

2. I was not mentally ill, and I was a victim of subtle job harassment.

3. I was not mentally ill; but I had the mistaken opinion that I was a victim of job harassment.

Note that there is a fourth option:

4. I was mentally ill and I was a victim of subtle harassment. Having a mental illness does not preclude the possibility that I was harassed. In fact, I would venture to say that a person who is mentally ill is more likely to be harassed than a normal person. This option does not legitimize the employer's failure to have me undergo an in-person psychiatric evaluation. This option does not legitimize the employer's conclusion that I was legitimately determined to be potentially violent. Only an in-person psychiatric evaluation (preferably by someone trained in forensics) could legitimately lead to that conclusion.

Gary Freedman said...

Frank Barron, an expert in creativity listed twelve characteristics typically seen in creative persons:

1. They are more observant.

2. They express only part-truths.

3. In addition to seeing things as others do, they see things others do not.

4. They are independent in their cognitive faculties, which they value highly.

5. They are motivated by their talent and values.

6. They are more capable of holding many ideas at once, and comparing more ideas, hence making a richer synthesis.

7. They have more sexual drive and are more vigorous from a physical point of view, and more sensitive (Arieti qualifies this point, noting examples of many creative people who were not robust).

8. They have more complex lives and see a more complex universe.

9. They become more aware of unconscious motives and fantasy life.

10. They have strong egos that permit them to regress and then return to normality.

11. They allow the distinction between subject and object to disappear for certain periods of time, as in love and mysticism.

12. The objective freedom of their organism is at a maximum, and their creativity is a function of objective freedom.

I see a more complex universe than one that is simply black and white.