In a time when California courts are busier than ever, the California Court of Appeal recently did double duty by issuing an opinion that both decided an issue of first impression in California and implicitly approved Senate Bill ("SB") 292, a relatively new law (and one that we blogged about last year) clarifying that sexual harassment under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) does not require proof of sexual desire towards plaintiff.
The Court’s opinion in Max Taylor v. Nabors Drilling USA, LP can be found here. (Warning: this one is not family friendly!) The case involved an employee working as a “floorhand” on an oil rig. For anyone who has never worked on an oil rig before (myself included), a floorhand is usually the lowest member of a drilling crew and is given the dirtiest and most physically demanding jobs. During the course of plaintiff’s employment, his male supervisor subjected him to serious and extreme harassment. For example (and this is where it gets bad, although we’re only giving you the PG version), his supervisors called him multiple derogatory terms for gay men, made several offensive comments when he had an infection on his face, posted his photograph in the restroom with offensive graphics, urinated on him, spanked him, and aroused themselves in his presence and then asked him to sit on his lap.