Boss Wants To Be My Sugar Daddy!
Best Ohio Sexual Harassment Attorney Answer: What is quid pro quo sex harassment? How do I tell my boss to stop harassing me to have sex with him? How much harassment at work do I have to put up with before I can quit my job? My Boss Wants To Be My Sugar Daddy!
The title of this post might sound bizarre. But, our employment attorneys deal with this kind of weird, horrible crap on a daily basis. In fact, this is right in line with some of the other weird titles that our employees’ lawyers have previously blogged about. (See Law: My Boss Called Me Nigger and Monkey. What Should I do?; Religious Discrimination: Employers Don’t Talk To God; Retaliation: Now That’s A Lot Of Waffles!; Another F’ed Up Case (The F-Word Is Facebook)).
Even our legions of
employment law blog readers may be even wondering, is there really a boss or
manager out there that is dumb enough to offer to be a subordinate’s sugar daddy?
Of, course there is. But, talk about a messed-up power dynamic. That’s pretty
much text book sexual harassment. Our employment
attorneys know that there is never a shortage of dumb bosses who have absolutely no
respect for the law or their employees.
Jessica Correa is a 43-year-old from New York. When she started working for Troutman Sanders LLP, a big law firm in New York, she had over 20 years of legal secretarial experience. She was offered a position as a legal secretary in January 2017, and was assigned to work for two male partners, including Gerald “Jerry” Francese (now a partner at Locke Lord). After she was hired but before her official start date, Francese invited her out to lunch as a “friend.” How great is that? Before you even start your boss wants to take you out to lunch to get to know you in a non-stressful situation. That’s awesome. When Jessica started on January 17, 2017, her co-workers told her that Francese usually takes his staff out to lunch. They also told her that he is a very generous person and a “godfather like figure.” This still does not sound too bad. At this point, it sounds like Francese is trying to foster a positive working relationship with Jessica and a positive work culture. But what h had planned- was to buy her admiration through being a Sugar Daddy.
But that all changed in February 2017. According to
the sexual harassment lawsuit, Francese started calling Jessica “cutie,” and
stated, “Hey cutie, I know I shouldn’t say that, is it okay I call you
‘cutie’?” He also did things like invite Jessica into his office to ask how her
day has been, but while he was asking, he would openly stare at her breasts. He
made it a common practice to only look at her breasts whenever he interacted
with her. Francese also started repeatedly asking Jessica to go to dinner with
him. When she ignored his requests, Francese attempted to incentivize Jessica
by telling her that she could pick any restaurant, no matter the cost. Jessica
repeatedly turned him down. Eventually, Francese insisted that Jessica attend a
“work dinner” with him. Jessica wanted to keep her job because like everyone,
she had bills to pay and a child at home who she needed to support. So, Jessica
agreed to attend the “work dinner” at an upscale Korean restaurant on the 39th
floor of a skyscraper in Manhattan.
The morning before their dinner, Francese called
Jessica into his office to ask for help with a computer issue. He insisted that
Jessica stand uncomfortably close to him. The whole time Jessica stated that
she could tell he was looking at her. When she turned to leave after she fixed
the issue for him, he patted her upper thigh, just below her bottom. Just so
that it is clear, unwanted touching, groping, rubbing, patting, fondling,
licking, kissing, hugging, or physical contact of any kind, regardless of it is
of the leg, arm, back, butt, ass, breast, boobs, hair or even left pinky toe by
a boss or supervisor to a subordinate employee is sexual harassment. (See Can I Sue If My Boss Rubbed His
Genitals Against Me At Work? I Need A Lawyer!; Is It Sexual Harassment If My Male
Boss Physically Grabs Me Once?;
My Boss Is Touching Me. Am I Being
The nerve of this guy. Jessica stated in her complaint
that she was so unnerved by the pat that all she could do was “stumble out of
the office.” Jessica was so nervous before the work dinner, she spent most of
the day rehearsing in her mind what she would say to Francese so that he would
get the hint that he could not sexually harass her.
That night, before they were seated at their table Jessica told Francese, “I didn’t feel comfortable with you touching me today.” Francese feigned ignorance and responded, “what do you mean?” Francese failed to respond or apologize, he just shook his head and changed the subject. Jessica hoped it would get better after that, but boy was she wrong. She was not looking for a sugar daddy.
At dinner, Francese told Jessica a story where he and another Troutman attorney has hired “Korean prostitutes” to perform oral sex on them in the backseat of a car. A few questions come to mind after reading this. First, why would a boss or manager ever disclose to a female employee that he or other supervisors hired a prostitute? Second, how did he expect Jessica to respond? She was basically trapped at this point. Jessica was in a secluded table, at a restaurant that was likely out of her price range. She was cornered by her boss, who was clearly trying to seduce her and give her unwanted attention. Also, to be clear – bosses, managers, and supervisors should not be talking about sex or sexual acts with their employees. This includes using the term “sugar daddy” in regard to you or another employee. (My Boss Keeps Making Sexual Comments!; Can Men Sue For Sex Comments At Work? I Need The Best Sexual Harassment Attorneys; My Boss Called Me A Bitch And Made A Pass At Me. I Need A Lawyer!; Is It Sexual Harassment If My Boss Talks About My Cleavage?).
At the end of dinner, Francese called Jessica a car to
take her home. When the car arrived Francsese made it clear that he was
expecting a hug from her. She awkwardly tried to hug him without getting too
close. As she was about to get into the car, Francese said, “Let me get a
kiss,” and moved toward Jessica in an obvious attempt to kiss her. Jessica had
enough. She pushed him away and got into the car. Shaken, she rode home in a
After the dinner, Jessica flatly ignored Francese.
Which seemed to work. She said that after the dinner, he got the message to
stop harassing her for a few weeks after their dinner. During the spring of
2017, Jessica’s mother had serious health issues and had to take care of her
mother both physically and financially. Jessica told Francese about her mother
only so that he would be aware that she would likely request time off soon. Francese
told Jessica that he would help her, in any way possible, but only if she asked
him for help. He made it clear that he would give her financial help if she
wanted. Wow, maybe Francese turned a new leaf. He was back to his caring, generous
self. Maybe. Throughout May 2017, Francese acted paternally towards Jessica. He
tried to comfort her, he frequently asked how her family was doing, and if he
could help. Jessica accepted his help and Francese gave her a loan of $500 and
then a check for $2,100.00. At the next weekly meeting with Francese, Jessica updated
him about her family situation. Francese said, “You know what you need? You
need a sugar daddy.” And, there we go!
That comment is not only cringeworthy but mortifying.
Francese implied that he would be willing to give her more money in exchange
for sexual acts, that the employee could use to support her family. Jessica was
in a vulnerable position, her personal life was growing increasingly difficult,
and now she was literally indebted to her harasser. His behavior got more
aggressive. In a clear attempt to finally get her concede, in June 2017, Francese
was looking at different vacation packages on his computer. He called Jessica
into his office and told her to “pick one.” The types of vacation packages that
Francese showed her were clearly out of Jessica’s price range. She could never
afford the lavish trips he offered. Fearing that the trip would come with
sexual favors attached, she tried to laugh it off, and reject his offer. Jessica
continuously rejected Francese. This angered him and he began retaliating
against her. He told Jessica that he job was on the line, and that she was
being watched closely, even though she was excelling in her role, and
continuously given more work.
Keep in mind that
employees obviously cannot be legally fired for refusing the sexual advances of
their bosses or managers. (Can
I Sue My Employer For Firing Me For Reporting Sexual Harassment?;
Fired In Retaliation For Reporting
Sex Harassment?; Can My Boss Fire Me If I Refuse His Sexual
Advances? Help, I Need The Best Sex Harassment Lawyer In Ohio!). When a boss or supervisor fires an employee
for refusing demands for sex or sex
acts or for reporting sexual harassment, it is called wrongful termination.
Francese tried to isolate her from the rest of the firm.
He told her that other legal secretaries were told to watch her. She was being
monitored by everyone, and that he alone
was her ally. In December 2017, Francese made his intentions clear. He told her
that he was looking for a “companion.” He told Jessica that he wanted a woman
to “keep him company and someone with whom he could spend time with during the
week and attend Broadway shows, have dinners, and go to clubs.” He also
explained that he had two of these companions previously and that he “helped”
those women – or, in other words, let me be your sugar daddy. Jessica
immediately rejected his offer for a second time. From there, things only got
worse for Jessica. She had a yearly review with Human Resources and was denied
a raise based on “anonymous complaints.”
Next, Francese tried to kiss her on the lips during a
lunch event he invited her to. Jessica told one of the associates at Troutman
Sanders about the way that Francese treated her. The associate told her that
she had to report the abuse to HR. Jessica reported the incident to HR. The HR
department started an initial investigation and told Jessica not to come back
to work while they investigated the report. Jessica, under extreme duress and
psychological anguish resigned on August 20, 2018. (See Lawyer:
Do I Have A Gender Discrimination Claim If I Quit?).
It’s pretty obvious that Jessica was subjected to
classic quid pro quo harassment.
Jessica filed her sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit against
the law firm and Francese on August 12, 2019. She says that she is entitled to
one million dollars in damages. Quid pro quo harassment is a different level of
disgusting. Not only is it a clear violation of Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 but it is also among the
most disturbing behavior in a workplace. Francese was clear that he was more
than just the average sexual harasser, he made it clear that he was willing to
be downright predatory until he got his way. It’s shocking that Jessica was
willing to hold out as long as she did before she quit. Not many people would
be able to endure the torture that she was subjected to.
The silver lining here is that Jessica has a strong
case. There are multiple instances of sexual harassment and she claims that
there are witnesses who can corroborate his behavior. Even though this case was
just filed, our employment discrimination attorneys
suspect that all the defendants in this case will be highly motivated to settle
this case before it gets anywhere near a trial. We will be watching!
Sexual harassment is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and similar Ohio laws. Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination. If you feel that you are being sexually harassed or are
working in a sexually charged or hostile working environment, you should not
wait to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
At Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, you will meet with a sexual harassment lawyer/hostile
work environment attorney to find out what your legal rights are and the best
way to protect them. Sexual harrassment is a form of gender discrimination, and
employers should be held accountable if they discriminate against female
workers in any fashion – but particularly for sexual harrassment. It does not
matter if you have been wrongfully fired or are still employed, there is no
reason to wait to find out what your legal rights are and how to protect
yourself from sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Call our office at 866-797-6040.
The materials available at the top
of this page and at this gender discrimination, wrongful termination, and sex
harassment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the
purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking “what should I do if
my boss tries to kiss me”, “I’m being sexually harassed by my manager” “my
supervisor grabbed my ass and groped by boobs”, “my boss rubs his penis against
me,” “I’ve been wrongfully terminated,” or “how do I sue my company for sexual
harassment”, your best course is to contact an Ohio sexual harassment
attorney/hostile work environment lawyer
to obtain advice with respect to sexual harassment/hostile work environment
questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this
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create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at the top
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individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, Brian Spitz,
or any individual attorney.