LOS ANGELES (CN) – In a sex discrimination action against Playboy Entertainment Group, a broadcast technician testified that she was called “slut,” “fat pig” and “whore” by her co-worker. But she was afraid to complain.
Plaintiff Julie Crouch said she was already on the wrong side of her boss Chere Johnson. “Chere, she already didn’t like me and I was deathly afraid that I would lose my job.”
During Crouch’s direct examination, her lawyer Mark Joseph Valencia asked to give some examples of hostile comments by her boss.
“She made a comment that it’s pretty sad to see that someone with a college degree sends in 300 resumes and can’t find a job, but someone like you can,” Crouch said.
Crouch also explained that although the behavior of her co-worker Charles Dorn was abrasive, he did not initially direct rude comments her way.
Unfortunately, she said, there was a point when Dorn’s conduct changed.
Crouch testified that the turning point was when she received an award for creating the Playboy TV playlist menu using Dorn’s computer program. It was after she received the award that Dorn started to send insults toward her, she said.
She said Dorn and another man were talking in her presence at one point, and they “were having a conversation about women and how they used men for their money. Ultimately Mr. Dorn involved me into the conversation. He goes you guys are all prostitutes in some ways.”
Valencia asked Crouch what Johnson did when she went her for help regarding Dorn’s inappropriate behavior. Crouch answered that Johnson didn’t do anything and in fact showed annoyance.
“I was forced to come back to work,” Crouch said. “Because Chere no longer had to hold my position after six months of medical leave.”
When Crouch needed to take further medical leave, Crouch testified that Johnson said, “Oh great, everyone’s going on vacation and I have to worry about you.”
Her husband Garrett Crouch also testified. He told the jury that he knew his wife was having a difficult time with Dorn and Johnson.
“Just scarin’ her; physically as well … After she started working there, she started crying,” Garrett Crouch said. “She came home pretty messed up. She didn’t talk much you know.”
However, defendants’ lawyer Barbara Fitzgerald with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius asked Garrett Crouch if he had any personal knowledge of Dorn or Johnson’s conduct toward Crouch. He answered no.
Fitzgerald also asked him if he knew that Crouch was having an affair with her co-worker at Playboy.
Garrett Crouch agreed that they were having a difficult time holding their marriage. When Fitzgerald asked him if he was having an affair, Garrett Crouch admitted that he had a one night stand that caused his marital relationship to turn sour.
A medical witness, Dr. Jaffray Taremazi testified that Crouch has fibromyalgia. A disease, he said, that is affected by “any type of emotional abuse … Emotional abuse can inflame the condition.”
Fibromyalgia is controversial condition in which the patient experiences chronic pain all over their body. It occurs more often in women than men, but this medical condition is controversial because the doctors cannot specifically tell the patient what is wrong with them, according to MayoClinic.com.
“We basically narrowed it down to fibromyalgia after we eliminated all other medical conditions,” Taremazi said. “It’s a clinical diagnosis … It’s a disease of exclusion.”
Taremazi said that her multiple chest surgeries as well as her back surgery caused great emotional distress on Crouch which may have created and worsened fibromyalgia.
In turn, Fitzgerald cross-examined Taremazi and asked him whether major injuries can trigger fibromyalgia. Taremazi agreed.
“It’s hard to say if it is the cause or exacerbates it,” Taremazi said. He also added that the medical condition could’ve caused her to be emotional.