ArLyne's Diamonds

A running commentary of ideas

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Due Process, Context, Mediation

Due Process and Context

I was watching TV the other night – Blue Bloods – and one of the segments was a clear example of how context matters.  A young woman, apparently on drugs, ran over and killed another youth.  The prosecution, thinking she had been joy-riding, was about to ask for the stiffest penalty possible.  BUT, the young woman’s mother explained that her daughter had not been joy-riding, but that the drugs represented her attempt at self-medicating because she had anxiety, depression and other psychological problems. (This was verified by a reputable psychiatrist.)

Intent is a significant part of how sentencing is determined.  Since the daughter was not joy-riding as originally thought – the prosecution asked for a lenient sentence and counseling/therapy for the girl. 

Context always matters.

Recently a woman was forced out of her association because she was two months late in paying her dues.  The board assumed that she deliberately chose not to pay them.  No one asked her.  The truth is that she had been ill and not earning any money for a while.  It was the very first time she’d ever been late.  The person responsible for working out a payment plan with the woman never even attempted it – no one bothered to talk WITH her they just let her go.

Not only does context matter – so too does due process.

Due process means the person being accused has the right to face their accuser, to know the details of what they allegedly did wrong, and to be able to defend themselves before a final decision – or sentence is delivered. 

Let me give you another example.   I was involved in a case where an executive lost his job because “he should have known” that his staff told dirty jokes.  The investigator in this case was so biased that she pre-determined his guilt.  Later, when I interviewed the executive I learned that he traveled frequently and was thus out of the office.  The alleged dirty jokes apparently occurred when he was not around.  (This was before the latest idea to make “command” responsible for the behavior of their charges.)

Here's another one:   Someone reported over-hearing a sexually inappropriate comment.  The man who was accused to have made the comment was on the verge of being fired.  There had been no attempt to ask him – or the person to whom he made the comment – about the situation.  Fortunately, his manager intervened and called me in to do a thorough and fair investigation.  Interviewing the man and the woman to whom he made the comment, I learned that they were friends and that what he was really asking was “did you make up with your boyfriend?”   He asked because the prior week over lunch she had been crying on his shoulder about a fight she’d had with the boyfriend.,

While I am on this subject – let’s also look at the foolishness of demanding a policy of “zero tolerance.”

  • ·       A kindergarten boy kisses a little girl on the cheek.  He is expelled
  • ·       A young boy accidently picks up his mother’s lunch bag instead of his own.  She notices it and calls the school to report the mistake.  None the less, because her lunch bag – in his possession – contained an apple and a small paring knife he was suspended for carrying a weapon.
  • ·       Two women, thinking they are alone in the restroom at their office talk about their dates the night before – in pretty graphic terms.  Some other woman, who had been in the stalls reported it as creating a hostile work environment.  The women are fired.
  • ·       A man making a delivery package in an apartment building knocks on an apartment door just as the next door opens and out comes his wife – with her extra clothes and the partially unclothed man that she had been with.  Reacting in the moment the first man socks the second man.  He has no other history of violence – but his children are (almost) taken away from him in a custody battle.

All too often decisions are made with limited – and sometimes biased – information.  People are harmed whereas they could have been given an opportunity to work something out.  

I am a firm believer in using mediation where ever possible – especially in these workplace he said/ she said accusations of stupid and jerky behaviors that don’t reach the level of a crime. 

I have been mediating disputes among people since the eighties – starting with doing visitation and custody mediation and now mediating problems in the workplace.  I also teach other professionals how to do mediation. 

Oh, and how to do fair and impartial investigations.   Two of the six books I have written and published are due to these activities.  See below.
  • Conducting Workplace Investigations:  Designated Investigator  
  • Culture:  Inside the Company and Outside the Country            
  • Leading and Managing a Global Workforce                                    
  • Conflict in the Workplace: Causes and Cures                               .
  • The "Please" and "Thank You" of Fundraising for Non-profits.         
  • Training Your Board of Directors             

In summary, due process requires looking at all sides of the story – from context to the investigation to the decisions regarding the appropriate sanctions and outcome.  Who gets selected to do the interviewing and investigation is equally as important because all too often people start out with either conscious or unconscious biases.                                  

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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Teachers attitudes affect students behavior

If we don’t change the attitude of some of our teachers – we will never change the problems some of our students manifest.  Here are a few examples of what bothers me about too many – certainly NOT all – teachers.

I met a woman I knew but hadn’t seen in ages.  She was dressed like a slob – dirty jeans, wrinkled top, tennis shoes.  I knew she was a teacher at an elementary school so I wondered what had happened to have her so poorly dressed and groomed.  I asked her if something was wrong and she replied:  “Who am I to impress they are only kids.”

Years ago as a graduate student one of my course requirements was to mentor a young at-risk child.  My mentee was a shy delightful little Chicana girl.  We would take walks together.  One day she proudly showed me the dress she was wearing and said: “I’ve kept it clean all week and Mommy didn’t have to wash it.”  She was so proud.

A few weeks later I met with her teacher who – among other things she said – told me that she found these students disgusting because they wore the same clothes day after day and she (the teacher) would never allow her child to go to school in the same dress twice in a row.  Her lack of empathy and understanding bothered me tremendously and I’ve never forgotten that story.

Not to long ago,  when visiting my cousin, a k-12 principal in California, I asked “Did you see how that teacher treated that student?”  I was horrified and my tone of voice reflected it.  My cousin replied:  If I so much as comment on it – they file a grievance with the union.  It takes me many hours to prepare for the hearing – and I lose anyway.  I’ve given up.

Recently, I was with a group of highly motivated educators and we were talking about strategies to make their students feel more welcome and safer.  One of the suggestions was to have the teachers stand at an open door welcoming students as they moved from class-room to class-room (period to period).  Much to my chagrin – several teachers responded that “it’s not in my contract.”

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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Housing that's Affordable

Affordable Housing

Tiny houses are adorable.  I wish I had the space to have one on my private property.  I can see them as “mother-in-law” homes.
BUT – to make a series of them which would only house about 6 small families on a piece of property that could hold an apartment building (or condo) of at least 30 homes seems to me to be foolish.
Let’s recognize that we MUST build UP.  We have a huge housing shortage – and in particular a huge shortage of housing that people with modest incomes can afford.
Rather than subsidizing housing, how about building enough small (but not tiny) apartments that have full apartments, parking, possibly even an exercise room and a park for kids to play in…. If we build UP we can have all of that at reasonable prices.
NIMBYs are partially responsible for the increase in homelessness and the increase in traffic congestion.  They vote against any project that would be large enough to allow for different sized apartments at different prices – with all the extras.
Let’s get practical.  Let’s increase housing.  We need it desperately.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Congress pays its own settlements


Received from:____________________________  Date:_____________

[     ]   Blouses                [     ]  Tops                                [     ]  Shirts
[     ]  Sweaters              [     ]   Skirts                             [     ]  Long Skirts
[     ]  Pants                    [     ]  Pant Suits 2 pc.             [     ]  Pant Suits 3 pc.
[     ]   Dresses                [     ]  Long Dresses                [     ]  Gowns
[     ]   jackets                  [     ]  Outdoor jackets             [     ]  Coats
[     ]   Scarves                [     ]  Shawls                            [     ]  Belts
[     ]   Hats                      [     ]  Gloves                            [     ]  Shoes
[     ]   Handbags           [     ]  Evening Bags                [     ]  Small pouches
[     ]   Other – describe ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Guess what?

Members of Congress will have to cover the costs of sexual harassment and retaliation claims out of their own pocket.  Up until now they were paid through a special taxpayer funded account.

They also opted to make the entire reporting and handling processes simpler and more transparent.

The power of women in office.   The power of #MeToo Movement

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Monday, November 26, 2018

The New Parent Leave Act

Isn’t it wonderful that parents will be allowed to spend more time bonding with their infants and taking care of their spouse?   Well, yes, but….

The but – is that this new bill is at the expense of small business owners who will have to keep the job open for employees taking up to three months (yes 3 months) of leave.

What does this mean?  Well since this is now effecting small businesses from 20 – 49 employees (other laws pertain to those with 50 or more employees) it means a big gap which will have to be filled.

So, how is it filled?  Either by others working over-time or by hiring temporary help.  In either case SB63 will cost small business owners hardship and money.

Once again the do-gooders have taken a gun to one group of people (small business owners) and forced them to pay for something that another group (parents) wants. 

Does this seem fair?

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Saturday, November 24, 2018

A Compliment or Harassment?

I visited friends for Thanksgiving Dinner.  My friend’s granddaughter, a gorgeous redhead in her early twenties and a recent college graduate and I were talking. 

I mentioned having just completed an on-demand course for Illumeo (see called “Don’t be a Victim:  Say No and have it honored” and told her a story I’d told in the course.

I too am a redhead – although significantly older than this young woman – but I too was young once and had all kinds of rude and lewd compliments and invitations thrown at me.  My father (a wonderful wise man) suggested that instead of getting insulted I take them as a compliment, smile, say thank you and move on.  A woman, he told me was like a work of art in a museum, men would look and some would comment, but they do not have the right to touch or take.  You, he said own your boy and only you can decide with whom you choose to share it.

That piece of advice has been enormously helpful to me – but this young women’s reaction was quite different.

She and her generation are determined to re-train boys and men so that they never say lewd and rude things again.
Yeah, that’s a good idea for their parents – but if an attractive young woman is walking down the street and some guys cat-call her shouldn’t she smile and walk on – or should she stop and give them a lecture on appropriate social behavior?
Me, I’d play it safe.

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Friday, October 19, 2018

Women wanting to be on Corporate Boards

Women on Corporate Boards

It’s happened!   Jerry Brown signed legislation mandating that all corporate boards include having at least one woman serve on it.  This is a remarkable opportunity for all women interested in serving on corporate boards.
I’ve been told by several people that most women are afraid to serve on these boards because they didn’t want to assume that level of responsibility and/or they didn’t feel competent enough.
Let’s disprove that rumor!   Let the men know you are ready and able.
If you want a little extra coaching:   Here’s a one day boot camp – workshop – that might be just what will get you excited about serving with “the big boys.”


Thanks mostly to the #MeToo Movement, California is once again in the Vanguard creating legislation to advance gender equality requiring that at least one woman sit on every corporate board.  Although highly controversial – this is an opportunity for all high powered – fast-tracking women to serve at this level.
It also is the opportunity for those in “soft-skill” fields to participate with mostly “hard-skill” colleagues.  Although every book on board Development (including my own) states the importance of the soft-skill perspective on the board, it is rare to see anyone in those professions, including HR professionals serving on corporate boards.
This one day boot camp is designed to give you the information and skills you will need to serve with “the big boys” and shine.  Among the things you will learn:
·       Basics of Corporate Governance
·       How your Professional Background adds value
·       Roles of Board Members – and Executive Boards
·       How to be heard – to express yourself effectively
·       Assertiveness – Not Aggression
·       Getting Noticed in a Positive Powerful Manner
·       Dos and Don’ts of Board Membership
·       Handling Attempts at Sabotage
·       Standing Up to Bullies
·       Board Members relationships with staff
·       Differences between non-profit and corporate boards
Date   Oct. 24, 2018          Time 10 AM – 4 PM
Location:  Restaurant in Santa Clara, CA
Name, Address & Directions given upon registration
Continental Breakfast and Lunch Included
Fee    $250.00 per person if registering before Oct. 10th (Early Bird)
$300.00 per person after Oct. 10th.
Pay either 
or paypal
Bootcamp Leader:           Dr. ArLyne Diamond, founder of Diamond Associates ( who has been an advocate and professional development coach and counselor for women for well over thirty years.