Big Time Unintended Consequence - A Prediction
“This is it, gentlemen and ladies, the new era!” exaltes the Creative Director.
The PowerPoint screen flashes a print headline in the unmistakable italicized font of The Wall Street Journal: “High Court Limits Time For Filing Bias Lawsuits.”
Then another graphic replaces the headline. It is lifted from the text of the story: “Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision is good news for corporations…..”
The Creative Director chortles. “And hot damn good news for us! Here’s the rough of our first commercial.” He turned to the digital video screen.
Woman in cubicle at computer terminal: She casts a clearly suspicious glare at a man in the cubicle across the aisle working at an identical terminal.
Woman’s Voice Over: “I hear they pay him 8% more than they pay me. I’ve been here a month longer than him, and I can type faster than he can. You can’t tell me that’s not (with reverb) discrimination.”
Overhead, straight-down shot of two executive desks. Behind one a woman, the other a man. The woman’s desk is slightly but perceivable smaller.
Woman’s Voice Over: “We made middle management the same week and his desk is bigger than mine. And his chair looks more comfortable. I think this might be (with reverb) discrimination.”
Fatherly spokesman behind partners’ desk. Big LL&C logo on the wall behind. (Delivery gradually building): “If you see - if you even suspect – that you are the subject of pay discrimination based on your gender, race, religion, sexual preference, age or moral malleability, you must ACT NOW, or forever lose you chance of legal redress!
(Leans back. Continues in a more constrained voice): The distinguished law firm of LL&C reminds you that the United States Supreme Court has now ruled that you must file your pay discrimination complaint within the first 180 days or lose the chance to ever right the wrongs done to you by your scheming, unfeeling, discriminating employer. (Leans forward, warms to the topic again.) That’s one -- hundred -- and --eighty -- days… not 181, not 182. If you have so much as a whit of suspicion that you are the victim of pay discrimination or bias of any kind, Call LL&C now, THIS MINUTE, before your chance for justice disappears like a puff of smoky procrastination. Call 1-800- FILENOW (Repeat number six times)
The United States Supreme Court says this is a right you must (with reverb) USE…. or you LOSE!"
The two screens go dark. The Creative Director looks around the table. Slowly the Partners begin clapping.
After the ovation, one Partner coughs politely and says, “Ah, I believe that ‘puff of smoky procrastination’ might be a bit strong.”
This scene, more or less, is repeated at ad agencies and law firms all over these United States. Spots start running in Grey’s Anatomy, Oprah, ET, cable reruns of Desperate Housewives, You Tube and Google context links. The civil court system starts reeling under the tsunami of new pay discrimination filings.