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 tales of love gone wrong from the darker side of management:
We all have our ways of saying ‘I love you’…
A supervisor who repeatedly grabbed a subordinate’s privates and vandalized his car has cost his former employer $250,000. The school district in Schenectady, NY, settled the employee’s hostile work environment lawsuit for that amount. The employee said his boss referred to the genital-grabbing as “the man game.” This and other acts of hostility forced him into early retirement, the worker said.
The ex-supervisor has been sent to prison for 23 years for a series of acts involving vandalism, arson and bombs that targeted his perceived “enemies,” including the employee.
Harassment was not a joking matter, court said
A man complained to his boss that his female co-worker was sexually harassing him. His boss replied, “Well, just walk around singing to yourself, ‘I’m too sexy for my shirt.'”
Unless your employee is Right Said Fred, who recorded the hit song “I’m Too Sexy” in 1991, that is definitely not the right response. The manager claimed she was just making a joke, but in our view, this response fails on several counts: (1) It fails to take the worker’s complaint seriously, (2) the 90’s are way over, and (3) it’s not funny. What does that comment even mean?
The employee also got nowhere with three other company managers when he tried to discuss the issue with them. Eventually his performance deteriorated and he was fired.
The EEOC sued on his behalf, and an appeals court said his case was strong enough to go to trial.
Cite: EEOC v. Prospect Airport Svcs.
Bow maker guilty of cupidity
The owner of an archery supplies manufacturer sexually harassed three female bow sanders, and the company now must pay $21,000 to make the resulting lawsuit go away. The EEOC said the owner of the Vulcan, MI-based company would tell the women unwelcome sexual jokes and touch them in a “bold and unwanted” fashion.
Cite: EEOC v. Patton Archery Mfg.
Subscribe to the Leadership Blog
Get the latest research on workplace learning with weekly posts delivered to your inbox