New Jersey governor Chris Christie closed all the state beaches due to a budget impasse, and then he and his family enjoyed a private beach vacation. Private, because no one else else could come because he closed the beaches.

Silicon Valley is in the midst of huge sexual harassment scandals--from Travis Kalanick's departure as Uber CEO to Binary Capital co-founder Justin Caldbeck's repeated sexual harassment accusations.

While it seems far-fetched to say that sexual harassment is anywhere close to a private beach party, it's really the same thing: an abuse of power.

Christie argues that he did nothing wrong because the beach house comes with the job as governor: "Let's be really clear. That's our residence and we have a right to be there whenever we want to be there." While Christie did nothing illegal, what he did do was immoral. Politicians shouldn't get privileges that the people don't get. (I know, this is a pipe dream of mine.)

The sexual harassers, of course, were doing things that were immoral, but they thought they could get away with them because they had the power and the money. People wanted jobs. People wanted to work at Uber. People wanted money from Binary Capital to fund their startups. And, so, they all thought they could get away with it.

The best solution to corruption and power-hungry jerks is a whole lot of sunlight. When Uber engineer Susan J. Fowler opened up about being on the receiving end of the harassment and HR's incompetent response, it started a flood of information coming out from closets and it toppled an empire and looks to be toppling several. All it took was a little bit of sunlight.

Chris Christie probably won't take another beach vacation with the beaches closed. (Although to be honest, I suspect he knows his political aspirations are dead anyway, so who cares?) He knows people are watching, so that game is over.

If you're the victim of improper behavior, don't keep your mouth shut, if at all possible. (There are definitely times when, for your own well-being, just getting away from the harasser is the top priority.) If you're an HR manager and someone reports sexual (or racial, or gender, or even bullying) harassment, don't say, "Oh, well, that's just how it is." You don't deserve your job if you won't stand up to the people who abuse others for their own gain.

People who are behaving on the up-and-up don't mind sunlight. In fact, they are happy to have it on their faces. If you ever find yourself dealing with someone who wants to keep the proverbial window shades drawn, open them up and air it out.

Published on: Jul 5, 2017