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Jack R.
Jack R., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6147
Experience:  Review contracts for major corporations
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Hi, I went to an employee Halloween party on Tuesday evening

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Hi,
I went to an employee Halloween party on Tuesday evening with my boyfriend of 10 years. At the event, there was a hypnotist. After listening to him state that he knew that it was a work event and we would be "safe" should we volunteer and that he would not make us do anything really bad. I decided to volunteer. My co-worker said he was "scared" so I convinced him to do it, stating "the guy said we were safe and that he would not make us do anything that lacked integrity".

After a bit, I was hypnotized--deeply. I was very tired that day...and had no one had ever been successful in doing so previously. In any case, 1.5 hours later, I was one of three women left on stage.

I must preface this by stating that I am the Director of Nursing for a Chemical Dependency, Psychiatric In patient Treatment Facility and half of the audience included my staff, the CEO, the HR Director (whom planned the party), and others...

Evidently, the Hypnotist paused the party and went and asked the HR Director a question (we will get to that later). He came back and said, "the person that I am touching now will have an orgasm when I shake her hand". The two other women are both CD Counselors. The first person complied, as did the 2nd. Next it was my turn. Evidently and according to my boyfriend I was the one that was the "most under the spell" and complied completely. Afterwards, I was told that I would be extremely embarrassed and was forced to face the CEO who is my direct report. Unable to do so, I turned around and covered my face. That was the end. And, the end of the party. My boyfriend and I left. Feeling out of it, I had my bf drive home. He was very upset.

That night I slept 45 minutes. I felt ashamed, guilty, violated. The next day, I went to work and walked to my office, dropped my purse then went to HR. I said that I wanted to call the Hypnotist and complain. I told her how I felt embarrassed, violated, ashamed a whole gamut of emotions. I didn't want to go to work. The administrative assistant was in the office, as well. The HR Director said, "It's not that big of a deal." I was so shocked and angry I left the office, but not before the AA mouthed, "I am sorry" to me.

After I left the HR office, I walked into the CEO's office. I told him what had happened in the HR office and that she did not validate my feelings at all. I told him that I felt humiliated and ashamed, etc. He told me that I should just laugh it off and make a joke out of it. I tried to do that, but every time I felt that I was betraying myself as if I was doing something wrong. The CEO sent an email out to everyone that told people that some people were sensitive and not to bring it up or talk about it, but that only made mattters worse. One person said, "oh, are you the reason he sent that email out?"

I don't know what to do. The HR Director did not get in trouble and I was clearly told to get over it.

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This type of conduct at a corporate event is unacceptable. The management at the event should have stopped the hypnotist dead in his tracks. This is the epitome of sexual harassment.

You can file suit against your employer for sexual harassment in the workplace (yes a corporate sponsored event albeit offside counts). If you have experienced any physical or mental issue such as anxiety or humiliation you may be able to sue the company and hypnotist for the intentional infliction of emotional distress. This requires conduct that is outrageous and calculated to humiliate or cause an individual distress. This certainly occurred here.

You may be able to get damages for your emotional distress as a result of the hypnotist's show. You should also get a formal apology and the company should acknowledge publicly to the entire company that its behavior, and the management teams behavior at the event in allowing this to go on was improper. The actions your were induced to do were sexual in nature and totally improper. Realistically some one in HR should be terminated for their sensitivity.

Please accept my answer with a rating of 3 or better so I may get credit for my response. If you have follow up questions please ask. Please note that paying the deposit does not cause funds to be disbursed until you rate my response (3 or greater). Rating my answer will not cost you more.






Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi,


 


Thank you for the information. What do you recommend that I do? Do I hire an employment attorney or personal injury?


 


Melissa

You should talk to an employment attorney.

Please accept my answer with a rating of 3 or better so I may get credit for my response. If you have follow up questions please ask. Please note that paying the deposit does not cause funds to be disbursed until you rate my response (3 or greater). Rating my answer will not cost you more.
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