2022 Leg Session, Columnists, Featured, Gold Dome, Governor Polis, Jon Caldara, Uncategorized

Caldara: Crushing the workplace spirit with Senate Bill 172

(You can listen to this column, read by the author, here.)

There is nothing more glorious than work.

What a shame the Colorado legislature keeps making it more dangerous.

Let’s see if Gov. Jared Polis stands up to the woke mob and vetoes Senate Bill 172, a human resources nightmare disguised as protection from sexual harassment.

Work is the act of creation. And we’re happiest when we create.

We go to work in the morning and by the time our head hits the pillow at night, something, maybe somethings, come into existence that were not there before.

Construction workers create buildings, coders create software, cooks make hamburgers, salesmen make connections between those who have and those who need, even some idiot wrote this dumb column.

Work brings dignity, purpose, connection and meaning and though hard and frustrating, it’s maybe even joyful and fun.

But not so much anymore. Now work is dangerous.

Yeah, work has always been dangerous, ask anyone in Special Forces or deep-sea welding. But those guys still love their jobs, despite the risks. At least their risks are pretty obvious, flying bullets and body-crushing underwater pressure.

But I’m guessing those guys don’t have to worry about getting fired for accidentally saying the wrong thing.

The danger now is for the folks who work in office cubicles, you know, the “Dilbert” jobs. But when the popular comic strip “Dilbert” gets canceled from newspapers across the country because of something its creator, Scott Adams, said in a podcast, you can only imagine how dangerous it is to speak in the real cubicle jungle “Dilbert” ridicules.

Of course, there is the growing trans speech censorship at work. Referring to a person by his biological sex and not as he identifies is modern racism, and a fireable offense. It’s also where the multiverse doors open as a singular person must be called “they” on threat of unemployment.

If workers are terrified about referring to the wrong singular or plural pronoun, think about how careful they are about anything that could be accused as racist, homophobic or sexually harassing.

A buddy of mine told me he had to deal with an HR problem during Halloween where employees were encouraged to come in costume, you know, for “fun.” Someone not of German descent wore lederhosen as part of his costume. That greatly offended someone of German descent, as it was obviously cultural appropriation.

Instead of spending time creating or having enjoyment while creating at work we now spend our time and energy dealing with this crap.

We are scared to speak. People go to work, keep their heads down, do what they’re told. We are scared to be ourselves.

We spend our time and energy not creating but going to HR seminars and endless HR investigations instead.

The result is no one risks saying much of anything in the office, fearing hair-trigger of those who are eager to be offended. In other words, mass self-censorship.

It’s the slow death of individuality. Death of the creative spirit, innovation, collaboration and, if it matters, fun.

Is it any wonder after COVID so many people don’t want to return to the office? Sure, they say it’s the long commute in, or “they’re more productive at home.” Might it be it’s just not nearly as dangerous when they don’t have to interact with the “if you say something around me, I’ll be triggered and get you fired” people in their office?

No wonder not working is more popular than ever.

Working has always been hard. But now does it require stifling your individual spark, your speech as well?

Sexual harassment in the workplace is, as it should be, illegal in Colorado. But Senate Bill 172 opens the door to endless investigations of sexual harassment.

Beyond giving the Colorado civil rights division more power and heaping more regulatory burdens on employers, including five years of more record keeping, it specifies sexual harassment claims “need not be severe or pervasive to constitute a discriminatory or unfair employment practice.”

Not severe? Not pervasive?

So, in other words just about anything can be sexual harassment, and even if there is no damage (not severe), you can still lose your job, or the employer could be forced to pay a big fat settlement.

If Colorado keeps going this way the only people who will be employed will be the easily triggered and the lawyers representing them.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think in Denver.


Our unofficial motto at Complete Colorado is “Always free, never fake, ” but annoyingly enough, our reporters, columnists and staff all want to be paid in actual US dollars rather than our preferred currency of pats on the back and a muttered kind word. Fact is that there’s an entire staff working every day to bring you the most timely and relevant political news (updated twice daily) from around the state on Complete’s main page aggregator, as well as top-notch original reporting and commentary on Page Two.

CLICK HERE TO LADLE A LITTLE GRAVY ON THE CREW AT COMPLETE COLORADO. You’ll be giving to the Independence Institute, the not-for-profit publisher of Complete Colorado, which makes your donation tax deductible. But rest assured that your giving will go specifically to the Complete Colorado news operation. Thanks for being a Complete Colorado reader, keep coming back.

Comments are closed.