Before you accuse a co-worker of checking you out from a neighboring urinal...
July 18, 2007 01:50 PM
... make sure he does not have a medically diagnosed "lazy eye." At least so holds the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, affirming that Todd Bernier's sexual harassment suit against Morningstar should be tossed. From the Court's opinion:
[O]n Friday, January 23, 2004, Bernier noticed Davis taking “an overt, purposeful and glaring look” at Bernier’s penis while they were both standing at the urinals in the men’s bathroom on their floor. Bernier knew that Davis was gay—he had learned this in 2003, some time after Davis brought a male date to the company’s 2002 Christmas party—but he was not aware until this litigation commenced that Davis had a “lazy” left eye that sometimes made it appear that he was “looking off at something” when conversing.
What Bernier did after the incident, though, was what killed his claim:
[H]e sent Davis an anonymous instant message through a little-used internal system. The message, which popped up on Davis’s computer without warning, said, “Stop staring! The guys on the floor don’t like it.” Davis, under the impression that he was being harassed for being gay, promptly notified Morningstar’s Human Resources department.
Big, big mistake. The law is that if you feel you're being sexually harassed in the workplace, you must follow the reporting procedures set forth by your employer. Do not take matters into your own hands by sending anonymous messages. It won't take Tech Support long to figure out who you are.
And of course, always follow established urinal protocol by taking an end one first, and never going to one next to one which is being used by someone else. A little common sense never hurts in these situations, especially if it keeps you from having to figure out which of your co-workers have medically diagnosed lazy eyes.