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A district court in Idaho earlier this month refused a tax and accounting firm’s request that a former employee who sued for discrimination undergo a psychosexual examination.
The employee worked for the Idaho Falls company as a receptionist beginning in 2012. According to her complaint filed in 2019, while at the office she witnessed and experienced a range of inappropriate sexual behavior from the part of the owner of the business, including sexual conversations, fondling and office rumors that he watched pornography in his office (Carbajal vs. Hayes Management Services, Inc., no. 4:19-cv-00287 (July 23, 2019).
The employee found another job in 2017, but was fired when she announced her two-week notice, according to the complaint. After initially filing a complaint with the Idaho Human Rights Commission and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in February 2018, she filed a complaint alleging sexual harassment, work environment hostile labor and retaliatory violations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In a legal proceeding, the employer asked the court to require the plaintiff to undergo a psychosexual evaluation, citing Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 35, by which he may require a party to submit to an examination mental or physical if there is just cause or “controversy”. on the mental state of a party.
“But a psychosexual evaluation is not a trivial mental examination permitted under Rule 35,” the judge explained, denying the request. He claimed that the assessment – which “specifically addresses sexual development, sexual deviance, sexual history and risk of recidivism as part of a comprehensive offender assessment” – was inappropriate in this case.
By asking plaintiff “to submit to this highly intrusive and personal assessment designed to uncover the future dangerousness of a convicted sex offender”, defendant’s claim not only “demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of the law of Title VII and the rule 35, but borders on abuse and harassment,” the court said.
The employer’s request for a psychosexual examination was “difficult to conceive”, the court said, but the court may have given him the benefit of the doubt in making the request if not for “other requests inappropriate discovery, including the meaning [the plaintiff] with an interrogation asking her to identify each person with whom she had sexual contact from January 2012 to August 2017,” the judge said.
In addition to dismissing the claim, the judge ordered the employer to pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees associated with responding to the motion.