January 21

Panel to hear Portland employee’s sexual harassment complaint

The worker claims his female supervisor drew male genitals on an evaluation form, called him ‘babe’ and ‘darling,’ and put her hand on his shoulder.

By Randy Billings rbillings@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The Maine Human Rights Commission next week will take up a claim that a city of Portland employee was sexually harassed by a female supervisor, who allegedly drew a sexually explicit picture on an evaluation form.

David Tanguay, a Falmouth resident and solid waste maintenance worker for the city, claims his female supervisor, who is not named, harassed him in 2011 by drawing male genitals on an annual evaluation form, calling him “babe” and “darling,” and putting her hand on his shoulder.

Last month, an investigator for the commission, who interviewed city staff and Tanguay’s co-workers, ruled that complaint had “reasonable grounds” to move forward. The commission will take up the complaint on Jan. 27.

According to the investigator’s report, the city conducted its own investigation into the complaint and ruled that the supervisor’s actions did not rise to the level of sexual harassment.

The report said the supervisor was counseled about her use of the words “babe” and “darling.” Employees were reminded about the city’s policy against sexual harassment and were given copies of the policy, the report states.

Tanguay also detailed other harassment claims from 2010 to 2012. He claims his supervisor called him a “scumbag” and a “slime ball” in front of a group of female students who were flirting with him.

Tanguay, who filed the sexual harassment complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission on Oct. 10, 2012, said his supervisor placed her hand on his shoulder in 2011 when she gave him an annual evaluation, which he claimed was full of lies. He was made uncomfortable when she touched his shoulder and said they could talk about it later, the report stated.

Later, she offered him a self-evaluation form. He claims a penis had been drawn on the back of the form. The supervisor adamantly denied drawing the penis, the investigator’s report said.

After Tanguay reported the incident, he claims someone placed pornographic DVDs in his locker with threatening notes, including one that said “leave alone (expletive) or else die.”

Tanguay alleges the incidents caused him emotional distress, forcing him to look for another job.

“The penis drawing and then the porn tapes in his locker made it very uncomfortable going to work,” the investigator wrote. “He discussed how upset he was with his counselor. He started looking for another job.’”

Tanguay took medical leave on April 2, 2012.

The investigator interviewed six co-workers, who mostly defended their supervisor. The city called into question Tanguay’s claim about the drawing. The self-evaluation turned over by the city did not contain a drawing, but it appears to be a copy, the report stated.

Tanguay took a photo of the original drawing but was unable to produce it when the city was conducting its investigation. He blamed computer problems.

The investigator wrote that for Tanguay to win his claim he needs to demonstrate six different criteria, including that he was subjected to unwelcome harassment based upon sex, that the harassment created an abusive work environment and that the conduct was objectively and subjectively offensive.

Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

rbillings@pressherald.com

Twitter: @randybillings

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