Same-Sex Harassment Lawsuit Dismissed

A Keller Thoma client was sued by a former male employee who alleged that he had been sexually harassed by his male supervisor. The employee also claimed that he was retaliated against for reporting the alleged incidents of harassment to management.

The former employee claimed that, over the course of his employment, the male supervisor: (1) showed him inappropriate photographs; (2) touched the plaintiff on the upper thigh while working together on a computer; (3) slapped plaintiff in the genitals with a ruler; (4) asked the plaintiff if he wore boxers or briefs; (5) showed plaintiff a photograph of his nephew, who had won a bodybuilding competition, wearing a "Speedo" bathing suit; and (6) frequently told an off-color joke.

Based on a motion to dismiss the case filed by Keller Thoma, the federal court judge dismissed the case, reasoning that the behavior exhibited by the supervisor was "crude male horseplay" which was not motivated by sexual desire or hostility towards the plaintiff's male sex. The Court also ruled that the conduct was not severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment.