More On

Executive's Departure Offers Lesson on Handling Sexual Harassment Issues

Like Bill Clinton, Hewlett-Packard's former CEO Mark Hurd "did not have sex with that woman." Whatever he did cost him some of his own money to settle a sexual harassment claim. It led to a derivative suit against him and the HP Board of Directors alleging that his actions, and the way the board handled his "resignation," cost HP and its stockholders $9 billion in market value. And it cost him his job. The events leading to Hurd's recent departure are a trove of "teachable moments" that can be used by in-house counsel in conversations with their clients.

First it could be a conversation-opener between counsel and senior executives on the pitfalls of creating a job category, for employees or "independent contractors," populated with greeters for "high level customers" who would also work at "executive summit events." Should a CEO really think his Board will stand behind him if he's created a job whose occupant is to "greet" high level customers; he selects an attractive blonde to fill it; and her background becomes the talk of the Tabloids?

Christopher H. Mills

Bio and more articles

Join the Conversation

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.