A jury in Palm Beach County, Florida, has ordered a mortgage company to pay
$1 million each to two female employees who said co-workers harassed them after
it became known that another employee had mounted a video camera under a desk
and secretly videotaped them as they sat there.
According to trial testimony, Ocwen Financial Corp. managers became aware of
the taping when employee Ronald Minnis Jr. was arrested in 1999. He had been
spotted outside a woman's apartment, and in the course of their investigation,
sheriff's deputies found a video camera containing images of Kidder, Dean and
other women. He told police that he sold footage of secretly taped women to
After being shown the tapes, Ocwen managers fired Minnis.
Kidder and Dean claimed that after the firing, harassment from co-workers
began. Kidder said some called her "Patti porn star" and "Internet
queen," while a manager told her, "Why don't you get under my desk...
" She also said one manager gave her unwanted neck and shoulder massages.
The women said they told superiors about the jokes and name-calling, but it
The women also suspected that Minnis had been hiding in a crawl space above
the women's bathroom at Ocwen's offices. They complained to their bosses about
unsecured ceiling tiles in the bathroom and reported spotting a man's hand moving
the tiles. According to them, Ocwen did nothing. The company said it investigated
the complaints and found nothing.
Ocwen lawyers, who denied the women's claims, said they are considering an
appeal of the verdict.
of South Florida and The
Palm Beach Post