St. Louis police officer Joe Spiess is offering free seminars to employers and schools on how to confront “Mr. Uncomfortables” in almost every workplace who exhibit signs of potential trouble long before they act, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Some experts and civil rights advocates say it is a path lined with patches of thin ice, because employers must guard against rash judgments and discrimination against a “Mr. Uncomfortable” who is merely benignly different, or quirky.
American Civil Liberties Union official John Chasnoff expressed concern over “attempts to target 'Mr. Uncomfortables,' Premature labeling of whistle-blowers and those with legitimate workplace complaints could damage the free exchange of ideas and unfairly affect the individual involved.” Spiess responds, “There's nothing wrong, if you have indicators, to try to explore it. It could be for the health and well-being of 'Mr. Uncomfortable' himself. If it's you that has to sit next to or supervise them, is it fair to leave you in that environment? It has to be done professionally and the same way all the time, and that's the beauty of having it in policy.” Police Chief Sam Dotson asked Spiess to tailor training for businesses and schools, in response to the school massacre at Newtown, Ct.