Stupid Manager Tricks: Sexual Harassment Edition

by on November 12, 2010 · 7 Comments POSTED IN: HR Cafe
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Editor’s Note: Most managers are diligent, empathetic and savvy professionals who know how to get the best from their people and stay on the right side of the law. And then there are the other ones — those whose blunders land them in court, on the news and, sometimes, on HR blogs. Here are a few cautionary tales from the darker side of management:

Maybe he didn’t want to get his uniform dirty…
A supervisor for an industrial cleaning company in Texas asked an employee to take his photo naked next to a Christmas tree, the employee claims in a sexual harassment lawsuit. The employee says the supervisor, who was a safety manager for the AbClean company, entered a room without a stitch on, and then made the unusual photo request. The manager also insisted on discussing sexual matters with him at work, the employee claims. The employee says that although he complained to management, the man remained his supervisor, which forced him to resign. Source: Houston Employment Law Blog.

‘Bedtime story’ has an unhappy ending
A supervisor who lay down on a female subordinate’s hotel bed, unbuttoned his shirt and demanded a “bedtime story” has cost his employer more than $500,000. A federal appeals court upheld a jury award of $250,000 in damages for the woman, and granted her lawyers more than $300,000 in fees. The employee’s lawsuit claimed she was sexually harassed – the hotel incident, during a business trip, was one of several – and fired for complaining. Making the supervisor look even worse: He admitted at trial that he knew of the dangers of harassment. “At that time, harassment in the workplace was a big issue, and … I should have been much more careful,” he said. Cite: Manzo v. Sovereign Motor Cars.

So how are things at home?
A supervisor told a female employee she wanted the employee to have three-way sex with her and her husband, the employee claimed in a sexual harassment lawsuit. The employee, who worked at a daycare center in O’Fallon, IL, said she eventually gave in and had sex with the supervisor. But at some point, she told the supervisor she wanted to stop. The supervisor reacted by ordering her to transfer to another location run by the employer, La Petite Academy. When the employee rejected the transfer and reported the supervisor, she was fired, she claimed. Her suit seeks $300,000+ in damages and costs from the daycare operator. Source: www.madisonrecord.com

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7 Comments on This Post

  1. Trish McFarlane
    November 12, 2010 - 5:53 pm

    How scary. I live in O’Fallon, IL and when we moved there we looked at that La Petite Acadamy as a potential daycare. I didn’t like it and selected one in another nearby town. Thank goodness!

  2. Trish McFarlane
    November 12, 2010 - 5:53 pm

    How scary. I live in O’Fallon, IL and when we moved there we looked at that La Petite Acadamy as a potential daycare. I didn’t like it and selected one in another nearby town. Thank goodness!

  3. Cal
    November 12, 2010 - 6:08 pm

    Too funny. Where do you find these people? But like I say….fact is stranger than fiction. As a matter of rule, I don’t fraternize with employees in any way, shape or form. You never know what they will say or what you will do. It’s best not to get involved.

  4. Cal
    November 12, 2010 - 6:08 pm

    Too funny. Where do you find these people? But like I say….fact is stranger than fiction. As a matter of rule, I don’t fraternize with employees in any way, shape or form. You never know what they will say or what you will do. It’s best not to get involved.

  5. Benjamin Lipman
    November 12, 2010 - 9:30 pm

    The work place need not be devoid of personality in order to insulate employers from liability for sexual and other forms of harassment. A convivial work environment is a happier, and generally more productive, work environment.

    I have been practicing law in Philadelphia for more than 30 years and have successfully represented both employers and employees in sexual harassment litigation. What I always tell my employer clients is that they have to remind and train their employees to respect the zone of privacy that reasonably surrounds each of us. Most people know that unless they are close personal friends with, or are solicited to do so by, co-workers, they do not inquire about the cost of someone’s home, about the income of their spouse, about the SAT scores of their children, or the like. We understand that even though we may share a comfortable, congenial relationship with co-workers, some things are private.

    The trick for employers seeking to eliminate sexual harassment from the work place is getting workers to similarly respect a zone of privacy surrounding the romantic-intimate-sexual aspects of co-workers’ lives. Recognize that people come to work each day primarily for work related reasons. Most want to be friendly and engaged, but they do not choose to give up their basic privacy by coming to work and they should not have to endure intrusions on their privacy in order to work.

  6. Benjamin Lipman
    November 12, 2010 - 9:30 pm

    The work place need not be devoid of personality in order to insulate employers from liability for sexual and other forms of harassment. A convivial work environment is a happier, and generally more productive, work environment.

    I have been practicing law in Philadelphia for more than 30 years and have successfully represented both employers and employees in sexual harassment litigation. What I always tell my employer clients is that they have to remind and train their employees to respect the zone of privacy that reasonably surrounds each of us. Most people know that unless they are close personal friends with, or are solicited to do so by, co-workers, they do not inquire about the cost of someone’s home, about the income of their spouse, about the SAT scores of their children, or the like. We understand that even though we may share a comfortable, congenial relationship with co-workers, some things are private.

    The trick for employers seeking to eliminate sexual harassment from the work place is getting workers to similarly respect a zone of privacy surrounding the romantic-intimate-sexual aspects of co-workers’ lives. Recognize that people come to work each day primarily for work related reasons. Most want to be friendly and engaged, but they do not choose to give up their basic privacy by coming to work and they should not have to endure intrusions on their privacy in order to work.

  7. rach
    October 25, 2012 - 4:44 pm

    So true…. I work at a bar and my boss is always making comments about my body and other men glaring at me. I wear jeans and a T shirt to work and don’t feel like this is inviting these comments….

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