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"If I don't dance I'll be fired!!!"


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#1 mmeyer1983

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:15 PM

My girlfriend is a receptionist in Washington, D.C. at a social/professional club with branches across the country.The general manager recently informed her that corporate wants every GM and his/her staff to make a video of themselves doing a dance from a pop song. She immediately told the GM that she did not want to do the dance because she felt it was degrading. He told her that corporate would order him to fire her if she did not take part in the video. He said she didn't want to dance she could be the "bitch" that the guy from the video slides between the legs of looking up while she stands over him. According to her he used the word bitch. She again made it very clear that she felt this would be degrading and she did not want to take part, to which he had the same response. The next week he approached her and said that the video was going to be made on Thursday. She replied that she wouldn't do it, and he told her if she didn't she should not come in on Friday. She called me hysterical right after and I don't know what her options are. Is there a potential recourse for this kind of treatment in the workplace?
Just to be clear she was hired as a receptionist, nothing in her job description would lead a reasonable person to expect her to be made to dance for the entertainment of the club's clientele.

#2 Fallen

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:40 PM

An employer's free to dictate new duties, I'm afraid, but you might wanna outline precisely what you mean by "social/professional club" if you don't mind.

If her radar/a red flag is raised by this person's demand/request, I'd be calling "corporate" ... if nothing else about the use of the b-word. It's also not clear what the purpose of the video is, and you don't say.

This is, however, not something to be "hysterical" about (you let the jerks win when you let it affect you so).

"Is there a potential recourse for this kind of treatment in the workplace?"

Sure.

Regardless of what type of business this is, she's free to complain to the EEOC and the DC equivalent (fair employment commission folks) if "corporate" blows her off and doesn't tell this manager to knock off his behavior.

Naturally, if she shows up to work Friday and this manager tells her to get lost, she ought to go online and promptly file for unemployment benefits (there's a one-week elimination period on benefits in most places, so the sooner one files, the better).

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)


#3 mmeyer1983

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:00 PM

They call themselves a private social and business club. I can best describe it as a place where professionals from the downtown area go to attend/host private meetings, events, dinners, etc. It is difficult to define it as a social club or a business club because it really is a hybrid of the two. As far as she knows the video is meant to entertain the members of the club.

#4 FindLaw_Amir

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:01 PM

To learn more about your rights as an employee, you may wish to visit the Employment Law Center and read Losing a Job as a good resource.
FindLaw's Legal Heads-Up! newsletter can provide you with the legal resources you need to make informed decisions when law touches aspects of your everyday life.

#5 mmeyer1983

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:03 PM

It's definitely not a gentlemen's club or anything of that sort. It's only open on weekends for special events, and normally closes at 9pm.

#6 Fallen

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:06 PM

If the "entertainment" doesn't involve girls who dance, I'd be calling "corporate" right away (email might be better, since you can document it).

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)


#7 mmeyer1983

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:18 PM

The only dancing I know of is during wedding receptions, not the bachelor party kind of dancing. Thank you for your advice!!

#8 NewYorkEmploymentAttorney

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:52 PM

If your girlfriend has a religious creed that bars her from dancing or if she feels she has been singled out to dance due to her gender or as a form of sexual harassment, she should contact an employment attorney and arrange a free consultation immediately.

www.QueensEmploymentAttorney.com
Posted ImageThis answer does not constitute legal advice and you should contact an attorney to confirm or research further any statements made in this answer. Any statements of fact or law I have made in this answer pertain solely to matters in New York State and should not be relied upon in any way in any other jurisdiction. Additionally, we also encourage you to reach out to us at our website: www.QueensEmploymentAttorney.com or via Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/EmployAttorney) or Facebook (http://www.facebook....RicottaandMarks) if you have follow up questions as we do not monitor questions after providing an initial answer.

#9 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:16 PM

If your girlfriend has a religious creed that bars her from dancing or if she feels she has been singled out to dance due to her gender or as a form of sexual harassment, she should contact an employment attorney and arrange a free consultation immediately.

www.QueensEmploymentAttorney.com


I agree with that as a general matter, but as applied to this circumstance, I see a problem with the claim that the dancing is barred by a religious belief. Had that been truly the case, I would expect she'd have objected on that ground from the start; so far she's repeatedly objected on the basis that the dancing is “degrading.” Were I the employer or sitting a jury, I’d be a bit skeptical about a claim of a religious issue now when it it wasn’t raised initially.

#10 NewYorkEmploymentAttorney

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:40 PM

Generally agreed, I state that more as a hypothetical because a non-sexual "dance" for company spirit would not, generally, be considered degrading.
Posted ImageThis answer does not constitute legal advice and you should contact an attorney to confirm or research further any statements made in this answer. Any statements of fact or law I have made in this answer pertain solely to matters in New York State and should not be relied upon in any way in any other jurisdiction. Additionally, we also encourage you to reach out to us at our website: www.QueensEmploymentAttorney.com or via Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/EmployAttorney) or Facebook (http://www.facebook....RicottaandMarks) if you have follow up questions as we do not monitor questions after providing an initial answer.

#11 mmeyer1983

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:07 PM

The dance was for the entertainment of club members not company spirit and parts of it are provocative. GOOD NEWS! The bad boss backed down, she doesn't have to choose between her job and self respect this time.




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