Friday, August 30, 2013

Koko the Gorilla . . . Sexual Harassment Lawsuit!? - COTW #158

OK, I don't usualy pick eight-year-old cases for Case of the Week - but I had to pass along this case straight from the "how have I not heard of this before" file. Apparently, in 2005, two employees who worked with Koko the sign language gorilla filed a discrimination and harassment lawsuit.

According to this 2005 San Francisco Chronicle article, the Complaint alleged:
"On at least two incidents in mid-to-late June 2004, Patterson intensely pressured Keller to expose herself to Koko while they were working outside where other employees could potentially view Keller's naked body. ... On one such occasion, Patterson said, 'Koko, you see my nipples all the time. You are probably bored with my nipples. You need to see new nipples. I will turn my back so Kendra can show you her nipples.'" . . . . The suit, in any case, says that Patterson would interpret hand movements by Koko as a demand to see exposed human nipples. She warned Alperin and Keller that their employment with the foundation would suffer, the suit says, if they "did not indulge Koko's nipple fetish."
Well, that's . . . ummmm . . . interesting? Apparently the suit was dropped following settlement.

HT: Jaime Bumbarger who mentioned the case as part of the SES Employment Law Seminar we spoke at on Wednesday.