Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

1.5 million spanking verdict overturned

A California Appeals Court has overturned a 1.5 million award to a female employee who as part of her employment as a sales person for a residential alarm company was subjected to “team building” spankings. Spankings were employed for both male and female employees “as a form of penance for not meeting sales quotas” .Employees were paddled with rival companies’ yard signs as part of a contest that pitted sales teams against one another. The winners poked fun at the losers, throwing pies at them, feeding them baby food, making them wear diapers and swatting their buttocks.

The appeals court overturned the claimant’s appeal in part “‘because of sex element’ is alive and well and must be satisfied in order for plaintiff to prevail on a sexual harassment cause of action. The jury should have been instructed that it could find for [the employee] on the sexual harassment cause of action only if it found that [the employee] was subjected to the harassing conduct because she was female,” the court said.”

The dankprofessor finds this practice to be somewhat alarming since sexual harassment law in California has been interpreted to find workplace spanking to be OK and not subject to litigation if both female and male employees are spanked.

I am sure that the complexity of this case is greater than has been presented. For example, is spanking OK if the spanker is in a higher power position than the female and male employees who are spanked? Does differential power preclude spanking? Certainly, employers should now consider hiring specially certified spanking trainers.

If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessorTM
© Copyright 2008

February 14, 2008 - Posted by | litigation, sexual harassment, workplace

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