Of course sniffing a woman can be sexual harassment. Who would even dispute that? Hovering over a woman and inhaling deeply is the move of creepy rapists in Lifetime movies.
A Dallas magistrate judge ruled against a woman who was fired after complaining that men would come into her office and freaking sniff her. Thankfully, an appeals court reversed… because Jesus Christ, ex-convicts were smelling her and talking about how they needed a “release”….
The Dallas Morning News reports:
The woman, who worked in an apartment complex, said two maintenance workers would enter her office, hover over her and sniff her. The behavior occurred about 12 times for each worker over four days. According to the court opinion, when the woman complained, she said the assistant manager told her to “let it slide” and stated something along the lines of “you know how men are like when they get out of prison.”
I don’t know how men are like when they get out of prison, but if it includes the need to sniff their female co-workers, then we need to completely reform prisons before we release these people upon an unsuspecting public.
As much as I think this is a clear cut case of sexual harassment, check out the deft lawyering the appeals court used to reverse the initial dismissal of this woman’s complaint. From the Texas Lawyer:
The Fifth Circuit concluded that the magistrate judge used the wrong legal standard in dismissing Royal’s retaliation claims by citing two previous Fifth Circuit decisions that require the alleged prohibited conduct to be “severe and pervasive” instead of “severe or pervasive,” as the U.S. Supreme Court requires.
“We think this is error. A reasonable jury could conclude that the described conduct was pervasive.”
Severe OR pervasive, not severe AND pervasive… though I fail to see how anybody could look at this behavior as not severe. Ex-convict maintenance men were smelling this woman in a small office multiple times a day. I bet if they did that to the judge for four days he’d be crying like a baby.
And that’s not all that happened. Apparently the victim, Tonia Royal, brought up the issue with her supervisor, Asia Brazil. From the order:
Are you kidding me? “He needed to get a release.” What kind of prick Texas judge reads all of this and just dismisses the complaint? NO reasonable jury could find this behavior harassing?
Anyway, like I said, OF COURSE sniffing a woman could be sexual harassment. That can’t be breaking news. That can’t be “lowering” the bar for potentially harassing conduct — getting up close to people and SNIFFING THEM has always been in the suite of intimidating and untoward behaviors. I’d tell a coworker “Tits or GTFO” before I hovered over her and sniffed her.
And I feel that when the dogs begin to smell her, she’s not standing alone in Texas.
Appellate court says sniffing in a suggestive manner can be sexual harassment [Dallas Morning News]
Sniffing Someone Could Be Sexual Harassment, Fifth Circuit Finds [Texas Lawyer]