I’ve written on topics ranging far and wide across the long-term care spectrum. But I’m pretty sure this will be my first foray into the world of fake butt accusations.
A suit filed earlier this month in New York alleges a nurse aide named Milouse Laguerre was subjected to workplace-related sexual harassment.
The catalyst? Other CNAs who insisted her gluteus maximus exceeded the maximus limit. There was simply no way its dimensions were within the boundaries of what her Mama could have given her, her co-workers allegedly claimed.
Not only did they judge that her backside’s dimensions were beyond what nature intended, they demanded for months that she provide the name of the physician behind such robust proportions. When Laguerre rejected both the allegations and the request, they allegedly proceeded to make her life a living hell.
So, is this really a story of buttocks envy gone bad? It could be that, too. But after reading the court documents, I’m not sure we’ve gotten to the bottom of this story.
You see, it appears that some of her colleagues were unhappy with Laguerre, who happens to be Haitian, being offered full-time employment in the facility three years ago. They allegedly claimed Haitians are “ugly.” They also insisted that Haitians, in the vernacular of Sir Mix-A-Lot, don’t have “back.”
While the facility’s CNAs were supposed to work as a team, her requests for assistance were largely ignored.
Moreover, when she repeatedly asked management for relief, her requests went nowhere. In fact, she was suspended, then fired, according to her attorney.
For other providers, there are two lessons to glean from this unusual case.
The first is that turning a blind eye to harmful statements and toxic interactions among employees is a risky strategy that may lead to legal consequences.
The second is that when employee conflicts persist, human resources must play a proactive role in addressing and resolving disputes, preventing them from festering into more significant issues.
This is an alleged situation that never should have been tolerated by those in charge, much less allowed to worsen.
And now the lawyers are involved. By the time this matter is resolved, there’s a very good chance the facility will find itself paying out the, well, you know.
John O’Connor is editorial director for McKnight’s. Read more of his columns here.