Three years ago, eBay CEO Meg Whitman allegedly engaged in physical violence in the workplace, per a New York Times report yesterday. As a result, “two… former employees said the company paid a six-figure financial settlement” to the victim, per the Times.
“During her 10 years as chief executive of eBay, Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for governor of California, was known as a demanding leader who did not hesitate to express displeasure with employees who failed to live up to her standards…
“In June 2007, an eBay employee claimed that Ms. Whitman became angry and forcefully pushed her in an executive conference room at eBayâ€™s headquarters, according to multiple former eBay employees with knowledge of the incident…
“The employee, Young Mi Kim, was preparing Ms. Whitman for a news media interview that day. Ms. Kim, who was not injured in the incident, hired a lawyer and threatened a lawsuit, but the dispute was resolved under the supervision of a private mediator…
“An agreement to keep the matter confidential was also part of the settlement, and the authorities were not involved… Ms. Kim still works at eBay and is now a senior manager for corporate and executive communications.”
I have some thoughts on this ugly bullying incident of an underling:
- Just imagine if Jerry Brown, or any male candidate, had engaged in the same violent, short-tempered behavior in the workplace. Their candidacies would likely be dead, the rightful victims of their own arrogant impulses and bullying instincts. Call this a gender-based double-standard.
- “The authorities were not involved,” reports the Times. But it appears perhaps they should have been involved. Violent behavior occurred, behavior that may have constituted battery. “Ms. Whitman was counseled in the matter,” per the Times. But nothing else. I wonder… does Whitman believe she’s above the rules that pertain to the rest of us? Call this a likely double-standard based on special privileges for the corporate powerful.
- Does California want a governor who reigns in the arrogant style of a billionaire corporate CEO? A corporate bully who literally shoves people around when she doesn’t get her way? When matters are not up to her perfectionist standards?
The Times quotes several employees who claim that “Ms. Whitman was demanding and would often express sharp bursts of anger toward employees whose work or preparation she found lacking.”
This is not the temperament of a person remotely suited to lead the great state of California, the most diverse, the most complicated, the most politically conflicted, the most frustrated and frustrating, the most populated state in America.
Meg Whitman would make a lousy, impatient Governor of California. Get the word out.