'Clearly banter' | HR worker sues employer for asking him who 'would be in his threesome'

HR worker sues employer for asking him who 'would be in his threesome'

An unnamed HR practitioner is suing their company for sexual harassment after his manager asked what celebrities he would want to have a threesome with, as reported by the Daily Mail. 

The HR employee, who will remian unnamed, claims his manager, prompted him to say what famous people he would like to have sex with as part of a fantasy ‘manwich’ - a cross between the words ‘man’ and ‘sandwich’ - during a team meeting.

The practitioner refused to answer the question, but claims he was probed for an answer by his manager and other members of the HR team – an altercation, he said, “violated his dignity” and was “unwanted conduct of a sexual nature”.

Surprisingly, the employer allegedly brushed off the comments, telling a preliminary hearing in Manchester that the remarks were “clearly banter”.

The tribunal heard that this wasn’t the first time a situation between the two named individuals had ensued.

After joining the company a year prior to the court case, the HR practitioner claims he experienced multiple situations where he felt “belittled” by the individual – he says his manager would often tell him how to do things he already knew, like how to conduct an investigation and probation meeting, or how to copy and paste from a document.

The HR practitioner is also claiming disability discrimination and constructive dismissal against the company.

A judge said at the hearing: “(He) says he refused to answer and then was pressed to answer by the accused, and others present during the meeting.

“(He) alleges that this was unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which had the purpose or effect of violating his dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.”

‘Clearly banter’

This is one of many cases where misconduct is brushed off as ‘banter’ in the workplace. What’s more alarming, is that this had happened within a HR team, and from a HR manager.

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It goes without saying that HR must practice what they preach and be the stewards of their own policies. Brushing off behaviour as ‘banter’, even when it has impacted a team member’s time at work, isn’t an attitude conducive towards a healthy uptake of policies and a healthy culture.

Ensuring your workplace has healthy and happy employees starts with embodying the change you want to see, and making sure your own team are thriving.

UPDATE: Since publishing, this case has reportedly been settled by the plaintiff. 



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