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The employment attorneys of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm often find that employees are harassed by their employers in a multitude of ways, some illegal and others simply unfair. Indeed, some forms of harassment against employees are more bizarre and out of the ordinary than others. Take this case for example.

A firefighter is suing the City of Phoenix after he received pasta in the shape of a penis and vagina with his name on it.

Plaintiff Frank Cheatham believes that the “pasta incident” may have occurred as a result of his previous complaints regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. Specifically, Cheatham complained in 2009 after he observed “two depictions of a penis and testicles openly displayed in the workplace at Fire Station 1.” Cheatham told his supervisors that this conduct created a hostile work environment.

Following his complaints, Cheatham claims that was ostracized by his coworkers who would no longer eat lunch with him and frequently played pranks on his involving drawings of genitalia. This came to a head when Cheatham received a large brown envelope in interoffice mail containing two small pieces of pasta, one of which “resembled a penis and the other which resembled a vagina.” Moreover, the “vagina pasta” had Cheatham’s first name “Frank” written on it.

Thereafter, Cheatham complained about this conduct again to his supervisors. Up to this point, it would be easy to say that Cheatham’s claim that he was being “unlawfully sexually harassed” was a stretch. However, after Cheatham complained about the pasta incident, his employer informed him in March, 2010 that he was being removed from his position of Deputy Chief Shift Commander and involuntarily transferred to a demoted position. Whether there is a causal link between Cheatham’s complaints and his demotion remains to be litigated. However, the City of Phoenix certainly made Cheatham’s case better by transforming it from a straight complaint of sexual harassment into a claim for retaliation based on protected activity.

If you even think that your employment rights have been violated or that you might need an employment lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm is dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.


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