Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Leverage: Part 2

"You said I would throw their families into Guantanomo Bay? Jesus Christ,who the hell do you think I am? Alberto Gonzales?"

"I was really pissed. The whore called me a J*P and they called where I work a virgin hellhole."

My Dad became silent on the phone.

Thanks to my trusty intern, I managed to get the Christmas presents wrapped and sent out by 8:30 pm. As soon as I got home I called to tell my Dad what happened. He made me describe what happened from the moment I walked in and what I said. He asked for every detail including what people said, how they acted and what their faces looked like.

I have to admit it was very unpleasant since it was a very f**ked up morning and I had no desire to relive it. But it was necessary. My father first cut his teeth in law by helping people who were in need of legal help while he was in law school. He learned very quickly that a lawyer was only as effective as their client. It is either full disclosure or nothing. A good lawyer wants to hear everything so they can prepare themselves when it comes up in court. If this was going to blow up, he wanted me to be prepared to take those hits.

"Sweetie, I have to make something very clear. Did you make any remarks about their race or religion? Their physical features?"


"Are these girls African American, Latino or Asian?"

"No. They are just generic white girls from Long Island. Straight up B&T."

"Did you ever call them B&T?"


"Did you ever make negative remarks about Long Island or New Jersey?"


"What about the other intern? What is his ethnic background?"

"He's Asian."

"Did you make any disparaging remarks about his race? Any references to Rosie ODonnell and the ching chong incident?"

"No. "

"Not even in a joking manner? Did you ever ask him if he was related to Bruce Lee or if he was good at math or has he ever eaten a dog?"

"No. I was really nice to him."

"Your whole interaction with HR, your boss and the interns was solely focused on the poor performance of those interns?"

"Yes. "

"The interns were the ones that made the J*p comment and other disparaging remarks?"


"Did you raise that chair high enough to be noticed?"

"I don't know."

"There's no I don't know. I don't know is bad. It means we are dealing with the unknown and judges hate the unknown. Depending on how they feel that day they will either rule for or against you."

"Do you think this will go to court?"

"I don't know."

"Thanks Dad."

"What do you remember about the chair?"

"I grabbed it and began to raise it and my boss stopped me and told me it wasn't worth it."

"Did you raise it over your head?"


"Above your waist?"


"Can you estimate how many inches off the ground?"

"Maybe an inch of two. It wasn't very high since my boss got to me first."

"When your boss told you to stop, did he yell?"


"Did he speak loudly? Was he audible?"

"It was sort of like a low whisper?"

"Sort of?"

"It was a low whisper."

"When you made that comment about me throwing their families into Guantonamo were the interns facing you?"

"No. "

"Did they respond?"


"Where were they when you said those comments?"

"They were out of the room."

"How about the idiot from HR?"

"She ran after them."

"Did she see you do anything with the chair?"


"Did she respond when you made those comments?"


"Did anyone see you raise the chair?"


"Did anyone make any comments about what you said about your father being able to put people into detention camps?"


I could hear the legal wheels turn in my father's head. When I was a child I often spied on him in his favorite chair watching a football game. But I could tell from the look on his eyes that he wasn't focused on the game. He was carefully constructing a legal strategy in his head, putting together moves and countermoves. I always wondered what he was thinking. Maybe he was envisioning himself in court or maybe he was playing hardball in the negotiations over a deal.

"I don't think anything is going to happen to you."

"I practically caused a scene at work. There has to be some type of consequence."

"If there are any actions taking against you , it will probably minor at best. Your grievances were meritorius and you did not engage in any type of unprofessional behavior. You made no remarks about race, religion or their physical looks. You did not act in a fashion that was discriminatory. As for that dumb ass remark about Guantanomo bay and attemtping to brain them with a chair, that could be grounds for dismissal, but it appears your boss was the only witness to that incident and I don't see him bringing that up."

"So what should I do?"

"Just go to work."

"What do you mean just go to work?"

"Just go to work. You're Bill Murray and its Groundhog day. It never happened."

"But what if this keeps blowing up? What if my boss turns against me and the interns and HR heard me?"

"Then you get fired. Once that happens I'll send a crew of my most insane litigators that will start screaming about suing about discriminatory practices, negligence and other some other s**t we will make up. After a week of slamming our d**ks on the table, we will agree to settle out of court in exchange for 6 months of severance and some amazing references."

"Do you think it will work?"

"What did I ever tell you about lawsuits?"

"It is not about winning in court. It's about wearing the other side down."

"Exactly. Once they figure out how utterly deadly my people are in the courtroom, they will realize that giving in to our demands is helluva lot more economical then going toe to toe with us."


The realization that I could be fired was sobering but at least I knew what I was dealing with.

"I can't believe you made that comment about Guantonomo Bay?"

"Why?" Was it that offensive?"

"No. I am just surprised that you ever heard of it."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well told, PP! I laughed out loud at your punchline.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Ole said...

What a soul-destroying job your father has.

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Janet said...

I wish I had your father on my side before I had to quit my last job.

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How utterly wonderful it must be to have a good lawyer on your side, like some sort of raging, avenging angel. I can just hear the howling and see the skies parting.

Good job PPPapa.


3:37 PM  

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