Would this be sexual harassment?

This hypothetical question comes partly from a newspaper article I half read, and partly from an office I was once in.

Let’s say there is an office in which there are female employees. The male boss has a big picture of a penis on his wall. On his desk is a statue of a fertility god, with an enormous schlong. In his desk is a big dildo, which he pulls out fairly often. The women in the office have no choice but to look at these things every day. And all day, the boss talks about erect penises, and the women have no choice but to listen to it.

Do the women in the office potentially have a sexual harassment lawsuit here?

Oh yeah – the office is a medical office, and the boss is a urologist.


{see…I could be a lawyer! :slight_smile: }

Sounds like hostile work environment lawsuit to me.


Hah I neglected to read the last sentence of your OP.

Little more difficult to determine - if the picture of the penis is a diagram, cool. If it’s a picture of just a dick, may look more like pornography. The fertility god is not a “necessary” thing and may be iffy - why does a urologist need a statue with a huge dick? The dildo should be cool if it’s used for bona fide job stuff - like examination instruction. But if he’s just waving around it may make others uncomfortable because dlldos are sold for sexual purposes, and I’m sure there are better medical models of genitalia to use for instruction.

What kind of dildo? ‘Talking about erections’ is a bit vague– certainly if it’s in a medical context I doubt the employees would be concerned.
Also, has he purposely staffed his office with women only?

I said “yes” when you said “penis,” but then I thought, “unless he’s a urologist.”

So long as the employment agreement the women signed specifically stated that penii, discussion thereof, was part of the job, and so long as he kept things strictly professional, it shouldn’t be grounds for an harassmant suit.

Just as a thought exercise, replace “women” in the OP with “men” and see if that changes anything…

now that I think about it, the fertility idol is probably out of place, unless there is a valid medical or business reason for it to be there.

If the pictures and dildo are medical in nature (a diagram of the male reproductive system, or an anatomical model used in patient education, say) then he’s probably in the clear as regards them because they’re necessary to workplace. If he just likes decorating with dicks and tends to get an 18" double-headed jelly dong out and wave it around when the staff is trying to talk to him, his ass is probably headed to court.

The statue, though, I don’t see any way that wouldn’t be grounds for complaints. If he’s some variety of pagan, I suppose he could argue that having the statue out is part of his religious observance and is thus protected, but I don’t know how successful he’d be.

Look, there’s talking about ‘erect penises’ and then there’s talking about ‘huge throbbing cocks’. If the doctor is being a doctor and that’s it, there shouldn’t be a problem. But if the doctor is walking around inviting the staff to a special viewing of the proper use of erectile physiology in the privacy of his own office, then it’s just not on.

Well, anybody can file a lawsuit, but it’s unlikely the women would prevail.

There was a case a few years ago where a woman sued over being exposed to sexual innuendo, crude remarks, and dirty jokes every day in the workplace. The thing is, she was a production assistant on a sitcom. The judge ruled that the use of offensive language was an integral part of the creative process for the show and did not constitute harrassment.

I suspect that most judges would agree that some sexual images and conversations are are an essential part of the normal operation of a urologist’s office. So behavior that would constitute harassment in most environments (like a bank, for example) would be perfectly acceptable in this context.

Seeing as y’all are asking for more specific stuff, I’ll provide what I can.

As I said, this situation conflates two separate things and so is hypothetical.

The first situation was a real lawsuit, in a medical building, where the doctor had an 8" penis on his desk. I have no idea what kind of doctor he was, and I didn’t read the whole article.

In the second situation, the doctor (and his male nurse, who had considerable influence in the office) had a number of items, some of which were clinical and some of which were decorative. The dildo was clinical.

The decorative items included:

A bone from a whale penis, mounted on a plaque.
A picture of a flaccid penis next to a crane (photoshopped so that the scales matched).
A wooden carved statue of Priapus holding his own gigundo johnson.

I imagine that these may have been gifts from patients.

As for the women in the office, I’d like to believe that they were hired for their skills.

I would so watch that show

Your comment immediately reminded me of this.

Or a urologist!

Are we talking Friends here? Because that was more than just innuendo, that was discussing which cast members they’d like to fuck and what their vaginas must be like.

I hadn’t heard all the details of what was said, but, yes, it was the *Friends *case. It just goes to show that even really extreme behaviour may not be harassment in certain contexts.

Dick my House
Extreme Dick Makeover
Flip this Dick

I thought you were going to tell the joke my neice recently shared with me:

"If a midget tells you your hair smells good, is that sexual harrassment?"

I would totally watch those if they were hosted by the guys that played Darrin Stevens.

If it offends an employee, I think that they have a case unless as others have said it’s appropriate in the context of their job. Any manager that lets an employee have that stuff at work is out of his or her mind and if he’s the top of the chain then he’s stupid enough to deserve to be sued IMO. It would have certainly been considered potential sexual harassment at any place that I’ve ever been in management and it wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes once we became aware of it. They’d also be sent off for yet another refresher course on what constitutes harassment and/or hostile work environments.


Carter Can’t