Flirting with Flirting

Flirting with Flirting

There really is no need for alarm when the problem is a simple case of misunderstanding. At least, that’s the way Alex put it. The problem, as it were, had all arisen after a sexually explicit email, according to Alex, had been accidentally sent. Alex states that Sam had accidentally sent the message, sorry, email, to Alex. Sam explains the reception in its opposite. You’re probably thinking, that the data could prove or reveal the truth of the matter, with all that technology and sophistication these days and what have you, how could a simple thing, such as figuring out who sent whom an email, be a problem at all, in the first place? Well, forcing a person to release or make available one’s messages, is, to put bluntly, highly illegal without a legal reason to do so. Thus, the situation remains the sort of he-said-she-said mystery. A few details, however, can be gleaned from the events that unfolded thereafter said email and overarching issue had emerged.

On October 31st, the day the fateful email had supposedly been sent, Sam entered the office at exactly 0900. This is known from the required scan of each employee’s identification card upon his/her arrival. After such time, Sam was seen in the security cameras walking down the hall, through the kitchen/breakroom area, toward the open-air-type workspace for entry-level employees. The cameras easily detect Sam sitting and working all day with minimal breaks at the desk assigned to Sam, and Sam logged into and out of the office’s portal at exactly 0907 and 1602, respectively. The cameras are able to record the general whereabouts of Sam throughout the office, but specific details about Sam’s day, such as conversations and eating habits, are nondescript, nearly impossible to know without, say, the personal touch of interacting with Sam or being close enough to hear such things, better yet, an eye witness of sorts, and even then, eyewitnesses are highly unreliable. The rest of Sam’s day looked to have unfolded just like any other day.

Alex’s situation, however, holds even fewer known details aside from an arrival time to the office and breaks taken out of the private space assigned to Alex, an office within the larger “office.” As an executive, Alex’s office life holds significantly more privacy, yet at the same time, Alex’s online and intranet-type usage is monitored more frequently with greater attention than say, someone at Sam’s level. Obviously, this is the dynamic from which the problem has bloomed.

In cases involving … how to be delicate … sexual advances that exclude any physical threats or tangible harm and/or proof, females are too often times brushed off when complaining about a male superior’s unwanted advances, and males are completely overlooked when supposedly taken advantage of, sexually, by a female superior. And so, the problem for Sam was two-fold. According to Sam, Alex has sent the first email. Alex claims that the email was sent to Sam on accident. Both acknowledge that an inappropriate email was sent. Neither possess a copy of the email in question. According to Sam, the email is not the problem, per se. The problem, Sam insists, is that Alex began flirting with Sam in passing, throughout the day, in the office. A few interchanges between the two parties have been caught on the security cameras during the roughly estimated times that Sam claims that the infractions happened. Again, though, the cameras can only tell that Sam and Alex passed each other or were seen in close proximity to each other; the camera cannot tell of what they spoke or if words were even exchanged. There is really only one occasion that could hint that the two had spoken at least once, if only briefly, in passing.

Of course, Alex denies the accusation of sexually littered, unwanted advances aimed at Sam. Alex does not deny, however, that the two have spoken to each other amicably a handful of times, but according to Alex, the conversations were so short and insignificant that Alex has little to no recollection of the details, except to say that any interaction was mere small talk, the smallest of small talk.

Whatever is the truth of the matter, Sam feels sexually abused and intimidated by Alex’s, as Sam puts it, flirtatious advances. Alex denies having any meaningful or otherwise amounts of time in Sam’s presence wherein sexual advances or any misconstrued attempts at flirting could arise. The things that are known for sure are too minuscule to build any sort of unlawful claim with. Sam, no matter, continues to work at the same company within the same office environment as Alex, and vaguely complains with small grunts of frustration by stating things like, “It figures,” and “What a surprise.” Alex, on the other hand, makes random statements whenever an opportunity affords itself with regards to the situation revolving around, “How could I, a woman, sexually intimidate a man? Really? How?”