HR Strange But True!
February 25, 2005

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 Internet sites.

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 continued.

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.

Sources: Sun-Sentinel of South Florida and The Palm Beach Post

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