HR Strange But True!
May 11, 2006

The former owner of a Long Island golf club has agreed to pay $34,000 to settle a caddy's claims that he was sexually harassed after losing two golf games to a woman and then fired when he complained about the harassment.

A lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of caddy Eugene Palumbo claimed that Palumbo was subjected to sexual harassment and retaliatory firing by the Tallgrass Golf Club in Shoreham, New York.

The suit states that after Palumbo lost a golf game to a fellow (female) employee, the club manager subjected Palumbo to "public harassment, humiliation, and discriminatory stereotypes" by posting and distributing a newsletter that derided Palumbo's "manhood," called him a "house b****," and recommended he "move to a particular summer vacation spot that is generally known to have a large gay population."

When Palumbo lost a second match to the same female employee, the club manager distributed a second newsletter that referred to Palumbo as the "ball-less wonder" and indicated he had potential new job opportunities as a "beverage b****" or performing exotic dances for "the boys," according to the lawsuit.

When Palumbo complained about the harassment, the golf club took no effective action to stop it and, instead, fired him, the suit states.

On April 28, Palumbo and former Tallgrass owner DeLalio Fairway Associates entered into a consent decree in which DeLalio agreed to pay $34,000 but did not admit to any wrongful acts against Palumbo.

In addition, DeLalio agreed to not discriminate against any employees because of their sex or to retaliate against any employees for asserting their rights under Title VII. DeLalio also agreed that, should it begin to operate a golf club within 3 years of the entry of the consent decree, it would "implement an EEOC-approved anti-discrimination policy and procedure and hire an EEOC-approved trainer to conduct related anti-discrimination training annually for its managers and employees."

Source: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Tallgrass Golf Club et al., U.S.D.C. E.D. N.Y., No. 05-cv-04648 (9/30/05)

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