When offering respect in the workplace training for employees and supervisors, I emphasize that an employee who laughs at sex jokes in the workplace is the same employee who may later sue for sexual harassment.
Like Little Ladner did.
(Yes, Little Ladner)
More after the jump…
Ms. Ladner used to work for a nursing home in Mississippi. In her Complaint against her former employer, she alleged a kitchen sink of classic sexual harassment:
- Her supervisor would stand right over her shoulder while calling sex chat lines.
- Her supervisor once called her a “stupid bitch.”
- In front of several coworkers, the supervisor pulled down her pants and underwear.
- The Supervisor squirted cream into a glove like it was his penis ejaculating and rubbed it on the Plaintiff’s arm.
To boot, Ms. Ladner claimed that he supervisor told her that complaining would do no good.
The employer’s defense: “[Ladner] laughed at the incidents she complained of in her Complaint.” You know how often this one works — especially in a motion for summary judgment? Rarely. The federal court presiding over Ms. Ladner’s claims in this case wasn’t feelin’ it either:
Plaintiff has included with her Response the statement of a coworker who expressed that she “always thought the pranks went way too far, but Ms. Ladner just went along with it, saying that was OK.” Ms. Fleming further stated that “I think that may have been her way of coping with the pranks.” Construing the record evidence in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, the Court finds that there is a genuine question of material fact as to whether the alleged harassment occurred, and if so, whether it was unwelcome.
So, Ms. Ladner, who, by the way, did not have a lawyer helping her out and was representing herself, will be bale to take her sexual harassment claim to trial.
Dudes, allow me to reiterate that you should not tolerate conduct in the workplace that would make a bishop blush — even if it draws a laugh — because you may be the one shedding tears in the end.