Sex Bias Trial Against Playboy Under Way

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – In an ongoing sex discrimination trial against Playboy Entertainment Group, witnesses testified that the plaintiff broadcast technician had a relationship with her male co-worker that ran from giggles and back rubs to profound insults and trash can kicking.

     The complaint by technician Julie Crouch began in 2004 when she wrote a letter to her supervisor, saying a co-worker had told her “fuck you,” called her a “bitch” and made other rude comments, while mocking her breast infection and back problems.
     When the plaintiff lawyer Mark Joseph Villa asked human resources director Brenda Villa what conclusion she had drawn, Villa answered, “I concluded that his behavior was inappropriate.”
     “So you didn’t conclude that there was actual harassment?” Valencia asked.
     Villa agreed.
     The following witness, Crouch’s former supervisor Omar Rodriguez said he was fired from Playboy for reporting the derogatory comments by the co-worker, Charles Dorn.
     He testified on direct examination that Dorn would hit his desks with his hands, slam the door and kick a trash can across the room.
     “His behavior was kind of erratic, usually,” said Rodriguez.
     Rodriguez also said that Crouch told him how Dorn was harassing her. He also testified that Crouch said she went to Johnson but she wouldn’t help Crouch. Further, he said that Crouch told him that no one would help her.
     After hearing the complaint, Rodriguez went to human resources director Villa.
     “I told her that I was concerned…that there’s an ongoing issue with an employee. And I didn’t know what to do so I called her for help,” Rodriguez said. “I told her that Julie went to another supervisor and nothing came of it.”
      Rodriguez said that Villa then talked to his supervisor Tony Nguyen about the conversation. Later, Nguyen and Chere Johnson, complainant Crouch’s supervisor, talked with Rodriguez about the matter.
     “Him and Chere told me that the issue was taken care of…she told me that I shouldn’t get involved in other people’s business,” Rodriguez said. He also said that Johnson started yelling at him and cried.
      Eventually, Rodriguez resigned from Playboy because he “just wasn’t happy going to work every day.” He is currently unemployed.
     Calling the last witness of the day, Valencia examined former Playboy broadcasting engineer Sharon Osornio and asked her if she saw Dorn and Crouch interact with each other in the broadcasting room.
     Osornio testified that she saw working together and Dorn touch parts of Crouch’s body, giving her a massage. She also claimed that Dorn hugged her as Crouch giggled stop.
     Osornio also said that she called Crouch while Crouch was on medical leave and told her that there were rumors that people though she was milking the system by taking medical leaves.
     “I told her that it’s in her best interest to come back to work,” Osornio said.
      Defense lawyer Jason Mills with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius asked Osornio how she would describe Dorn and Crouch’s relationship.
     “I didn’t see physical abuse…they were always laughing. I always saw Julie laughing,” Osornio said.
      Mills further asked Osornio if she thought Dorn and Crouch had a romantic relationship since they were always laughing.
     “I don’t know if that meant they had a relationship, but they got along,” the witness said. “I mean they were on the same shift…Julie would always laugh so I never witnessed Julie have a harsh tone against someone. So her stops were always with a giggle.”
     “But you had your suspicion that something was going on. Is that correct?” Mills asked.
     Osornio agreed, saying that they were being flirtatious with each other.
     Superior Court Judge Conrad Aragon who is presiding over the trial reminded the witnesses to answer “yes” or “no” to questions by opposing lawyers, before calling it a day. The trial is scheduled to resume this week.

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