In February, I wrote about how Big Brother/Sister in Alabama keeps an eye on numerous public places through the use of video cameras. The same can be said about most states, including Louisiana. Nola.com reported that recently elected Congressman, Vance McAllister, was caught on video embracing his district scheduler, Melissa Peacock. The video is dated December 23, shortly after he won a hotly contested election in November. The video appears to be from several security cameras, and shows McAllister embracing and kissing Peacock. After running on a platform including strong family values, McAllister issued a statement asking for forgiveness: “There’s no doubt I’ve fallen short and I’m asking forgiveness. I’m asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve…Trust is something I know has to be earned whether you’re a husband, a father, or a congressman. I promise to do everything I can to earn back the trust of everyone I’ve disappointed.”
Practice pointers. Although the conduct caught on video appears to be consensual, the fact that a married man, with children, engaged in this type of behavior is troublesome. This conduct could lead to allegations of sexual harassment, a hostile work environment, and even assault and battery. Being caught on camera while engaging in this type of behavior could be proof of improper conduct should a charge be filed with the EEOC and/or a lawsuit filed by Ms. Peacock. Once again, this is an example of a person of power, a U.S. Congressman, engaging in questionable conduct. In the private sector, this could have been a CEO, office manager, supervisor or some other person with authority. Finally, everyone should remember that in all public places, there is a real possibility that you are being videotaped. For those of us old enough to remember the TV show, Candid Camera, public behavior can be very funny. It can also be very distressing, and can lead to embarrassment, bad publicity, loss of a job, and expensive and time consuming lawsuits.