Jezebel.com’s Lauri Apple has provided an interesting, and, inevitably, sad article about the state of sexual harassment defenses in today’s USA. Perhaps it is not surprising that old defenses and new are still both outlandish and craptastic. Worse still is that some men still behave badly and feel no remorse about it. Behavior doesn’t change for some… unfortunately.
Lauri Apple — Recently Lisa Beauchamp sued her employer, the Teamsters Local 150 in Sacramento, for sexual harassment after a union official said not-sexy sex things to her, touched her inappropriately, and traded massages with a group of “office party girls” during workplace functions. A jury found for Beauchamp, but dang—she lost on a legal technicality. Now the Teamsters’ lawyer is saying dumb things … as lawyers involved in these cases sometimes do.
What kind of dumb things? Well, The Sacramento Bee reports, the Teamsters’ lawyer believes the jury’s finding “doesn’t really mean anything, and that his client is completely exonerated.” Oh?
“There is a finding there was some harassing conduct, but they never reached the issue of whether it was severe or pervasive, or whether a reasonable person would have been offended,” attorney John C. Provost said. “So none of those issues were really reached.”
Whoa, wait: Provost’s client won because of a statute of limitations issue. The “11-woman, one-man jury” found that Beauchamp had, in fact, experienced “unwanted harassing conduct” during her employment with the union. Maybe the jurors’ decision doesn’t mean anything to Provost, but it probably means something to Beauchamp. And that should count for something, right?
The Teamster lawyer’s statement is dumb, but it’s not the worst one ever made by a defense lawyer in a sexual harassment (or sex discrimination) suit. So, what is? I don’t know! But I have found several possibilities. These 14 “defenses,” culled from the deepest, darkest corners of Google’s archives, don’t always win over the hearts and minds of juries, but they do succeed in causing nausea, outrage, and hives.
The 14 cases include:
- The Crybaby Defense
- The Nuts and Sluts Defense
- The “Not a Slut, Let’s Go with a Nut” Defense
- The Icy Bitch Defense
- The No Supply Closet Defense
- The Close Friend Defense
- The Juicy Emails Defense
- The Self-Absorbed Feminist Defense
- The Nosy Nellie Defense
- The “Silence Equals Consent” Defense
- The “That’s Just the Way He Is, Take It or Leave It” Defense
- The “Height” Defense
- The “Too Ugly” Defense
- The Greedy, Bored Cheerleader Defense