Talking Sex: Of Pervert Supervisors and Harassed Co-workers

By Jennifer Garvey

In what crazy world does an employer deem it acceptable to talk about sex in the office? Well not so crazy as it seems it is happening more and more these days. One of our clients, Excenia Fofana was an employee at Odyssey House which is an organization that helps those struggling with substance abuse problems, and during her employment she was subjected to discriminatory, degrading, hostile, and abusive remarks from her supervisor, James Walker.

Walker would constantly make inappropriate sexual comments to Fofana as well as other women in the office such as, “when you speak to me on the phone put the phone by your titties.” Woah. Excuse me? Put the phone by your titties? Is it even possible for someone to distinguish the sound of breasts being rubbed up against a phone? Now, that’s talent folks.

He would also discuss his private sexual activities such as receiving fellatio from women, and engaging in sexual intercourse (somehow I don’t believe all his talk… a man who talks about all the sex he is having isn’t having any… anyone?). He also informed the women that his sexual activity was so amazing that even his cat got turned on. Can someone please call the ASPCA on this freak?

Walker would refer to women as “bitches” and say to them, “let me see you drop it like it’s hot.” Ah-hem, Ladies and Gentlemen, the workplace isn’t a Snoop Dogg music video, please refrain from sayings such as these. Further, staff members at Odyssey were threatened that if any of his comments were reported to management they would be terminated. What’s worse? When Fofana as well as other employees approached Program Director Detlef Von Hahn on numerous occasions regarding Walker’s sexually discriminatory behavior, Von Hahn told them he would “get back” to them.

When Walker found out that staff members including Fofana had reported him he was angered that they went over his head to his supervisor to complain about him. This then led to Fofana’s termination in a discriminatory and retaliatory act. After her termination Walker was terminated as well, but it was only a mere one to two months after her own termination.

It is extremely sad to know that there are perverts like Walker in higher-up positions in this country subjecting women to this sexual discrimination. What is worse to know that this happens all the time and all over the country, but women are just not prone to report this type of behavior because of the fact that they are afraid to be terminated (and are sometimes threatened to be terminated if they do report the inappropriate behavior).

Conversations about sex belong only in health class in high school, and between sexually intimate partners in their own time in a private place. Not among coffee and water coolers, so check your sex life at home and don’t bring it to work. As for the sexual arousal of felines? Well, there’s never an appropriate time for that…