Man Harassed by Female Boss Gets $237,000
For five months, David Papa’s boss at a Domino’s Pizza made comments about his body, touched him and told him she loved him. Six days after he told her to stop, she fired him.
Now, a federal judge has ordered the pizza chain to pay Papa $237,000 in damages in the first case the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ever took to trial involving a man harassed by a woman.
“When it first happened, people didn’t want to hear it. My friends were like, ‘Why didn’t you just sleep with her, for Christ sake? You had a woman coming on to you,’ ” Papa said in an telephone interview Wednesday.
“But this was about my career. I take my job very seriously. I felt very embarrassed, having her touching me, saying these things to me. It made me feel self-conscious and awkward.”
According to the verdict, issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Henry Lee Adams Jr., Papa was repeatedly harassed in 1988 by his area supervisor, Beth Carrier.
At the time, Papa was 25, newly divorced and had just gained custody of his 3-year-old son. He had worked for Domino’s for two years and was recently promoted to manager of a store in Port Richey, about 35 miles northwest of Tampa.
He was earning about $350 a week, and averaged $600 in monthly bonuses. Just before firing him, Carrier had nominated him for Manager of the Year.
Several times, Papa said, Carrier touched him on the shoulders and buttocks, squeezed his buttocks and made comments about his body. Once, while making pizza dough, Carrier told Papa her bra had slipped off and asked him if that “turned him on.”
At a meeting with two other store workers, Carrier told Papa she loved him and wanted to live with him and his son.
“There were people there who heard this,” Papa said. “I was so frustrated, I really lost my temper and said, ‘Get out of my office.’ That was the big blowup.”
When she visited the store again six days later, Carrier fired Papa, saying he was improperly paying a driver from the store’s mileage account rather than its labor account.
The judge ruled that Carrier earlier had told Papa that using the mileage account was allowed under company policy.
He ordered Domino’s to pay Papa $237,257, post a policy on sexual harassment in each of its stores and hold sexual-harassment training for its managers every year.
The verdict came one year after a non-jury trial.
“I’m not going to speculate as to whether companies take this type of harassment seriously or not, because the general trend today is companies do take all of it seriously,” EEOC lawyer Karen Khan said. “But this happened back in 1988, and I think it was probably pretty unique to have this type of case and to have it go as far as it went.”
Domino’s spokeswoman Maggie Proctor said the company had not yet seen the verdict and had no comment.
After being fired, Papa had taken a series of jobs working at a sandwich shop, as a pizza delivery man and as a restaurant cook.