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What Life?
Picture of piqaboo
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What's odd about the article and other comments is - I travel for work all the time. I travel with coworkers all the time. Unless we make a specific effort, we are not seated in the same row, nor on the same floor of hotels. Its not that one has to make an effort to avoid this, its that one has to make an effort to bring it into being. So, red herring there.

Likewise, my coworkers and i rarely isolate ourselves in our rooms for meetings- who wants to spend more time in a hotel room? We meet in the lobby, the business center, etc. Its more pleasant there.


on a tangent:
I think that current wardrobe makes this conversation a little challenging since I daily see clothes at work that would have been strictly clubbing clothes 'back in the day'. My default is on the pretty 'be covered up and not to tight or lowcut' side. But what was a normally cut neck line 2 yrs ago is extremely lowcut this year because fashionable necklines have crept up.


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Posts: 2580 | Registered: 07 April 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by piqaboo:
What's odd about the article and other comments is - I travel for work all the time. I travel with coworkers all the time. Unless we make a specific effort, we are not seated in the same row, nor on the same floor of hotels. Its not that one has to make an effort to avoid this, its that one has to make an effort to bring it into being. So, red herring there.


Well, of course. Because the way people travel in your industry is identical to how people travel in every other industry.

In the legal industry, people in some instances will try to sit together on planes, when they can, in order to work.

And, in companies in which travel is booked through a travel coordinator, the coordinator may be specifically instructed to seat employees together, for productivity reasons.
 
Posts: 41799 | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Minor Deity
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I travel for work a lot, and I would never try to sit with a colleague on a plane to work. There is way too much of a risk that someone will overhear something sensitive and client confidences will be breached.

I have also never, ever had any kind of business meeting in a hotel room.

I am also conservative about business dress, but then again, that's how I dress outside of work. I don't think about it much.
 
Posts: 18168 | Location: A cluttered house in Metro D.C. | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've sat next to colleagues on a plane frequently. We passed papers back and forth. We whispered. We handed each other notes.

I've also met co-workers in their hotel room, but only men. Never in my room, never women, as far as I can recall.

And I never recall having an actual meeting in a hotel room. We'd do that in a restaurant or in the lobby. We have, however, had business meetings in restaurants very frequently. No one seems to be too worried about others overhearing client confidences, even though it happens. To wit:

https://www.washingtonpost.com...m_term=.98e7be0b3fc5
 
Posts: 41799 | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Minor Deity
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In the work I do, we are crazy careful about confidentiality. Our work garners media coverage at times, and internal affairs/disciplinary records of officers are closely guarded secrets per state law or union contract. So we lawyers try to avoid meeting outside the office (e.g. talking about investigations and active matters in restaurants). I don't even look at anything on my laptop in an airplane because it is too easy for someone to see my screen.

I've thought about getting a screen cover for privacy. It would be easy for someone in court in the gallery behind me to see what is on my laptop at counsel table. I haven't bought a privacy screen yet, but I should. . . .

Cindy -- who cannot possibly hear what people are saying on a plane if they whisper
 
Posts: 18168 | Location: A cluttered house in Metro D.C. | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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When you are out of town, where do you meet? Do you always commandeer a federal office? I suppose there's a federal office building almost everywhere. But, if you're not in the government, that's not an option.

I was thinking about this last night. If you're out of town and working for a company or a law firm, your options are these: a hotel room (bad for the reasons discussed); an office at a local law firm or client (if you are lucky enough to have a local affiliation of some sort); renting a conference room (I don't think I've ever done that); or a public space, like a coffee shop, a restaurant, etc.

We've always usually used the local affiliation option. Failing that, public spaces. Even when I was in government, if we were out of town, we almost always did business in public spaces (there were no SEC offices in Singapore or Paris, and I don't think I've ever set foot in the SEC's New York office, and I know I met people there).

Is there another option that I'm not thinking of?
 
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We would just find space at the hotel. They generally have conference rooms. Usually you can just grab one if its available.
 
Posts: 30208 | Location: On the Hudson | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
What Life?
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quote:
Originally posted by QuirtEvans:
quote:
Originally posted by piqaboo:
What's odd about the article and other comments is - I travel for work all the time. I travel with coworkers all the time. Unless we make a specific effort, we are not seated in the same row, nor on the same floor of hotels. Its not that one has to make an effort to avoid this, its that one has to make an effort to bring it into being. So, red herring there.


Well, of course. Because the way people travel in your industry is identical to how people travel in every other industry.

In the legal industry, people in some instances will try to sit together on planes, when they can, in order to work.

And, in companies in which travel is booked through a travel coordinator, the coordinator may be specifically instructed to seat employees together, for productivity reasons.


You make my point for me - "try to " / "instructed to" = "make an effort". So, if one Does Not Want to sit next to someone, it is simple not to.

If we need to collaborate in flight we typically text.

re hotel rooms - see business center, above.


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Posts: 2580 | Registered: 07 April 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I come back to what seems to be obvious to the women who are responding, less obvious to the men: yes, you might need to adjust your behavior. Can't do business in a hotel room? Do it elsewhere. Can't sit next to someone on an airplane? Besides the fact that I feel there is serious paranoia going on there, don't sit next to someone.

In other words, act the same way women have had to act since the dawn of time, in any setting, professional or otherwise.

Suck it up. Live is full of minor inconveniences. But refusing to work with members of the opposite sex, or refusing to make reasonable accommodations out of fear of false accusations is most likely illegal.
 
Posts: 31657 | Location: West: North and South! | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by jon-nyc:
We would just find space at the hotel. They generally have conference rooms. Usually you can just grab one if its available.


I don't recall ever having done that.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Nina:
I come back to what seems to be obvious to the women who are responding, less obvious to the men: yes, you might need to adjust your behavior. Can't do business in a hotel room? Do it elsewhere. Can't sit next to someone on an airplane? Besides the fact that I feel there is serious paranoia going on there, don't sit next to someone.

In other words, act the same way women have had to act since the dawn of time, in any setting, professional or otherwise.

Suck it up. Live is full of minor inconveniences. But refusing to work with members of the opposite sex, or refusing to make reasonable accommodations out of fear of false accusations is most likely illegal.


I just wanted to make sure that you weren't directing that comment at me, because I said:

quote:
they need to adjust their behavior. And the very notion of adjustment can be uncomfortable. Nothing wrong with that. It’s a new world, get used to it.


I agree that life is full of minor inconveniences. It's inconvenient to go through airport security. It's inconvenient to wait your turn to board. It's inconvenient to have to keep your seatbelt on and stay seated when you may want to get up. You adjust to all of those requirements, adjust to this one, too.

quote:
But refusing to work with members of the opposite sex, or refusing to make reasonable accommodations out of fear of false accusations is most likely illegal.


Maybe, maybe not. It's true if you restrict your behavior to members of the opposite sex. However, if your behavior is consistent with respect to EVERYONE, regardless of gender, it's probably not illegal, even if the genesis for your behavior is fear of false accommodations.

I have told people before, who thought that they'd been subject to a false accusation and wanted to know how to protect themselves, that it's simple. Don't invite ANYONE to your house. (The person in question had instructed a woman to deliver a package to his house, and then given her a tour of the house. And then an accusation of improper behavior came out, when he wanted to fire her.) If you refuse to invite women, but you invite men, that's most likely sexual discrimination. If you don't invite anyone, you're not discriminating at all.

Similarly, if you refuse to sit next to ANY employee on an airplane, no one can accuse you of discriminating on the basis of gender or race or sexual orientation. It doesn't matter if you developed your personal rule out of fear of a false accusation or not. You just have to make sure you are consistent and treat everyone in the same way.

I am not aware of any successful lawsuit against a high-level employee for discriminating against women when the man treated all employees in the same manner. (Leaving aside harassment. It's legal to be an equal opportunity a$$hole, but that doesn't play well in front of a jury. And, if you grab everyone by the shoulder, men and women alike, or slap everyone on the butt, you're not going to win that lawsuit.)
 
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quote:
Originally posted by piqaboo:
quote:
Originally posted by QuirtEvans:
quote:
Originally posted by piqaboo:
What's odd about the article and other comments is - I travel for work all the time. I travel with coworkers all the time. Unless we make a specific effort, we are not seated in the same row, nor on the same floor of hotels. Its not that one has to make an effort to avoid this, its that one has to make an effort to bring it into being. So, red herring there.


Well, of course. Because the way people travel in your industry is identical to how people travel in every other industry.

In the legal industry, people in some instances will try to sit together on planes, when they can, in order to work.

And, in companies in which travel is booked through a travel coordinator, the coordinator may be specifically instructed to seat employees together, for productivity reasons.


You make my point for me - "try to " / "instructed to" = "make an effort". So, if one Does Not Want to sit next to someone, it is simple not to.

If we need to collaborate in flight we typically text.

re hotel rooms - see business center, above.


If the effort is routinely made, in all instances, it's not so simple to say, "I'd rather not." Unless you're the senior employee, of course.

I can't remember ever using a business center for a meeting. In many hotels, they're small, and they're public. Other people can wander in. So that wouldn't satisfy Cindy's confidentiality concern, unless there are separate rooms in the business center that have doors that close. But maybe, as a DoJ employee, she has easy access to an extra office or conference room at a federal building. I don't know.
 
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'Easy' vs 'worried about being assaulted'. I'm ok with it being a little harder to find an appropriate meeting room.


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Originally posted by piqaboo:
'Easy' vs 'worried about being assaulted'. I'm ok with it being a little harder to find an appropriate meeting room.


If "worried about being assaulted" is the issue, a restaurant or any public venue is far better than a private meeting room.
 
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Minor Deity
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quote:
Originally posted by QuirtEvans:
When you are out of town, where do you meet? Do you always commandeer a federal office? I suppose there's a federal office building almost everywhere. But, if you're not in the government, that's not an option.

I was thinking about this last night. If you're out of town and working for a company or a law firm, your options are these: a hotel room (bad for the reasons discussed); an office at a local law firm or client (if you are lucky enough to have a local affiliation of some sort); renting a conference room (I don't think I've ever done that); or a public space, like a coffee shop, a restaurant, etc.

We've always usually used the local affiliation option. Failing that, public spaces. Even when I was in government, if we were out of town, we almost always did business in public spaces (there were no SEC offices in Singapore or Paris, and I don't think I've ever set foot in the SEC's New York office, and I know I met people there).

Is there another option that I'm not thinking of?


Courthouses have little alcoves off of the courtroom for conferences.

Hotels have business centers, empty ballrooms, little conference rooms you can duck into.

Police stations have interview rooms and conference rooms.

Even restaurants will work if you can find an isolated table -- although not if you have to shout to be heard.

Even a hotel lobby works if you can find an isolated section.

My point is just that it is super risky to discuss confidential client business (or anything else you wouldn't want overheard) on a plane or train when you don't know who may be listening. As proof, I will offer the cautionary tale of a law firm partner friend. He was on the Amtrak and was overheard talking about cutbacks in the firm's hiring, and the next thing you know it was reported in the media. He learned his lesson.
 
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