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mmeyer1983

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

11 posts in this topic

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.

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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).

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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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