Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Sexual Harrassment - Valid Claim or Not?

Collapse
This topic is closed.
X
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Sexual Harrassment - Valid Claim or Not?

    I have worked for a company for a year and a half. I also am a photographer out side of working for a company. I have shot pictures of many women. Some of those women I work with on my day job. Over the past year and a half I have brought I portfolio work on several occasions. The number of people who have seen my portfolio work is probably anywhere between 50 to 100 from upper management on down. One of my latest shoots was of a co-worker as well. For this story lets call her Sandy. Sandy is also an aspiring model. On Saturday morning before I went into work had a few shots of Sandy developed for her portfolio. Another coworker, let's call him "Adam" was anticipating seeing the new shots from the shoot. Adam and I have been collaborating various different projects over time in order to help promote the women who are aspiring models. As he was looking through the pictures held privately a supervisor walks by and goes out of her way to look over his shoulder to see what he was looking at. She see's a picture of Sandy. After seeing the picture the supervisor demands the pictures from Adam. Adam hands the pictures back to me. The supervisor comes over to my desk and is screaming "Get the **** Out of Here! Get the **** Out of Here!.... (Repeatedly)". After finishing the call I was on I stood up. I said to my supervisor "I'm sorry if I've offended you in any kind of way but..." She cut me off still screaming and said,"You don't have to apologize to me, I'm not the person you have to apologize to." I asked the supervisor, "what was the problem?" She said "That's sexual harassment! Do you know that you could get this company shut down! Call HR on Monday!" I asked her "What was sexual harassment? " She continued screaming "Get The **** Out Of Here!" (This was in front of about 30 + coworkers of mine) I realized there was no way I was going to be able to talk to my supervisor. So I left.

    I finally had a chance to speak with HR today. They asked me what happened and I told them. They asked if I had spoken to the girl in the pic I told them yes. They asked how she felt about the situation. I told them that she was upset at the fact that the supervisor acted that way. HR said, "Oh, so your saying that you had Sandy's permission to show her pictures?" I said, "of course! I wish you would've called her and ask her because she will let you know, please call her!" HR said "Oh.. I guess that means we don't have a problem. I'll see you tomorrow at work." HR also stated that the supervisors response was uncalled for as well.

    HR called Sandy and verified everything with her.

    My issues are the following. The response of the supervisor was completely uncalled for. This created a problem within a sexual nature for both Sandy and myself. I'm sure by now you have to be wandering what kind of pictures were these just as everyone else at my office is wandering. I'm sure the assumption is that I am some perverted photographer and that Sandy is some kind of a *****, due to the response of the supervisor. Would you consider this sexual harassment?

  • #2
    I think the important thing, first is that "sandy," for sure did not mind you showing the pictures at work. If they could be perceived as "pornograghic," then having them at work may be a problem. I'd ask sandy to write a note explaining that she didn't have a problem with this. The supervisor didn't handle it appropriately by the lack of confidentiality and swearing, but at this point I would just not want it to escalate out of control by making too big of an issue. you don't want to find out later that there is some sort of complaint in your file, or if this is brought up later. That's my thoughts. I'm not an expert.

    Comment


    • #3
      Regardless of whether you had Sandy's permission or not, it is not appropriate for you to be showing those pictures in the workplace. It doesn't matter whether it was sexual harassment or not; keep the pictures out of the workplace.

      The supervisor's response may or may not have been uncalled for. That does not mean it is okay for you to be showing your pictures in the workplace and it does not mean that you have any legal recourse.
      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by cbg
        Regardless of whether you had Sandy's permission or not, it is not appropriate for you to be showing those pictures in the workplace. It doesn't matter whether it was sexual harassment or not; keep the pictures out of the workplace.

        The supervisor's response may or may not have been uncalled for. That does not mean it is okay for you to be showing your pictures in the workplace and it does not mean that you have any legal recourse.
        Is having pictures in the work place wrong wether it is of an employee or not? Exactly what do you mean that pictures in the work place are are "In appropriate?" This is exactly what I mean. How many people do you know at your office have pictures at their desks, in there cubical at work, and show their pictures to others. Have you ever shown pictures at work? Where do you draw the line? Do you draw the line at it being a picture of another employee? Are you saying that if you took your coworker to Disneyland and took pictures while you were there that it would be in appropriate to be shown in the work place because it is a coworker? Companies list employee pictures all the time on walls etc. My question to you is what was so in appropriate about my pictures? The only thing you know is that it was a picture of another employee. Or are you basing your opinion of the picture on the Supervisors response? As all 30 + employees have. And determined that they were in appropriate. Keep in mind I still haven't told you anything about the picture other than it was a picture of a coworker. Doesn't that constitute harassment because of what you think with out ever seeing the picture?

        Comment


        • #5
          No, any assumptions on my part do not constitute harassment.

          I am assuming that the supervisor would not have reacted so violently if Sandy were fully clothed. I am not assuming that the pictures were sexual in nature. I am not assuming that you are perverted or that Sandy is a *****. But unless your supervisor is mentally disturbed, it is clear that these pictures are not of Disneyland.
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

          Comment


          • #6
            The law defines sexual harassment as being offensive by a "reasonalble person of the same sex." It sounds like your supervisor over-reacted & made assumptions. She was mistaken. If no one else (of the same gender) considers it offensive, then it's not legally harassment. She could, however, impliment a policy of no personal photographs, which would be silly, but legal. Appropriate action in an actual case of harassment would be an apology, a suspension, demotion, or termination. If she accused you of sexual harassment, when in fact it is not, and she ruins your reputation so that it negatively affects your employment (you lose money, promotion, job reference), this could be an additional problem. Defamation of character such as this, however, is very difficult to prove. People have spent many $$$ in lawsuits to only be awarded $1--if they prevail. In this case, it does not appear to have caused a significant harm, especially since Human Resources agrees with you, and no further action has been taken. This is my opinion. I'm not a lawyer. She made a mistake, as people often do.
            Last edited by zzz; 07-20-2005, 07:57 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              An aspect of this situation that hasn't been addressed with these photos is they were taken not for as personal mementos (like most people may have on their desk) but for reasons (financial? modeling work?) outside the companies interests. This could be good argument for disiplinary action up to and including termination.

              Leave the pics at home or meet with "Adam" at a location outside the company walls and company time.

              Comment


              • #8
                Allurevision,

                I attempted to send you a private message about this matter, but I'm not sure if you got it.

                Please contact me privately, as I'd like to discuss this further with you.

                Thanks,

                legaldawg

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by zzz
                  The law defines sexual harassment as being offensive by a "reasonalble person of the same sex."
                  Don't you mean Sexual harassment may occur between individuals of the same sex or between the sexes.
                  Somedays you're the windshield and somedays you're the bug.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    None of this would be sexual harassment of you. Your manager was not over reacting because you are a guy, but because you had pictures you should not have at work. That is legal.

                    Where you have a gray area is in sexual harassment toward Sandy. Sorry but sharing non-work related pictures with coworkers could very well cause her embarassment and lead to charges of SH. Your employer may have acted hastily, but if I walked into an office an saw two male employees reviewing pictures of a female coworker and it was clearly not work related promo shots or portraits for the company lobby, yes, I would have a problem with that. If you, Adam and Sandy have a professional relationship outside of the primary workplace, that business should be conducted at another time.

                    It doesn't matter what the nature of the photos was, but I'm willing to bet they weren't just snapshots taken at Disney that just happened to contain a mutual coworker.
                    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      And this thread was originally posted in July of 2005. I very much doubt that the OP is still coming back looking for additional answers.

                      And, legaldawg, I don't know if this is what you had in mind but I do NOT permit solicitation of the posters. If you are looking for business, I suggest you try elsewhere.
                      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                      Comment

                      Working...
                      X