Lowe’s Company Inc. is facing a sexual harassment suit after one assistant store manager allegedly told a male employee he’d “spin like a top” on the manager’s penis.
According to The Reporter, a San Francisco attorney named Kelly Armstrong filed a civil complaint with the Solano County Superior Court on behalf of a “John Doe.” The client has chosen to keep his identity anonymous due to the nature of the lawsuit.
The employee says that at the Lowe’s Home Center at 1751 E. Monte Vista Ave, a former assistant store manager named Mark Fox sexually harassed him on multiple occasions. The 17-page complaint names Lowe’s Companies Inc., Lowe’s Homes Centers, and Fox as defendants. The complaint also argues that the sexual harassment was a violation of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.
“Male-on-male sexual harassment is common in the United States, but employers routinely fail to take complaints seriously when the victim is a man,” said Armstrong in a press statement and interview. “In an odd twist, men who suffer sexual harassment in the workplace lag behind women who have experienced tangible progress during the #MeToo era.”
She added, “My client repeatedly reported some of the most egregious harassment one can imagine to management — harassment that is difficult to imagine being ignored had the victim been female — but his pleas were shrugged off, met with retaliation, and even physical threats.”
According to the Bay Area Reporter, the lawsuit specifically claims that rumors were spread alleging that the John Doe had sex with several employees and gave an STI to several of them. It also claims that Mark Fox made comments to John Doe about having sex with a man. The assistant store manager also made fun of the size difference between him and the employee. The lawsuit says Fox once made a joke that it would be “fun” to perform “choke and stroke” with John Doe and make him “spin like a top” on his penis. Fox also described said penis in detail to Doe and asked Doe to travel with him to Las Vegas so they could be “intimate.”
Fox also repeatedly photographed John Doe in the bathroom. Fox then allegedly shared those photos with colleagues. This includes photos captured underneath a bathroom stall that show Doe sitting on the toilet.
Despite John Doe making several comments about how inappropriate Fox’s actions were, the assistant store manager refused to stop. Doe also “made multiple complaints to management, but the harassment continued unabated by Lowe’s,” according to Armstrong.
In the end, John Doe ended up leaving the store. Now, Armstrong and her client are seeking a jury trial and punitive damages for the harassment. Armstrong also asks that any witnesses or other victims “come forward so that Lowe’s can be held fully accountable.”