I have the utmost respect for people who work in nursing home settings as I know that it is a challenging environment and can be difficult, stressful, and downright depressing. If the employees there decide to blow off a little steam by acting a little risqué in the presence of other adult co-workers, so be it.

According to a story on NJ.com, an employee at Shady Lane nursing home in Gloucester County (yes, that’s the REAL name!!) began feeling uncomfortable about the atmosphere at her job and the actions of her coworkers, she began to complain. When she complained about what she considered to be rude and vulgar behavior by her coworkers, she was told by her boss to “relax, fit in and have fun.”

That would’ve been my advice too. Either that, or to simply ignore it. According to the (obligatory) lawsuit filed by the offended employee, a supervisor presented her with a plate of food that featured “a hot dog protruding from the plate sitting between two round mounds of food suggestive of male genitalia," prompting laughter and vulgar comments from staff. In another incident, a co-worker used part of a dishwasher as a phallic symbol and made crude gestures, she says. Oh, cry me a river!

In response to the employees complaints, workers were made to attend training sessions about workplace sexual harassment, but that apparently was not enough for the very shaken employee. Why didn’t she just quit?

The bottom line is this: If you work in a place where everybody else behaves in a certain way and you don’t approve of it, you’re clearly working in the wrong place. No one owes you employment. There are plenty of jobs in the nursing home field (especially when you are not a trained medical professional but merely a food service worker, as this employee was.) Instead of suing for a big pay day, how about looking for work elsewhere? But, no. In the society we live in (and especially here in the New Jersey court system, which never met a sexual harassment lawsuit it didn’t LOVE) it’s much more preferable to try to win the jackpot the easy way! A huge settlement means you don’t have to do the difficult job of finding somewhere else to work.

I hope nobody bothers this food service professional in her next job. That is, if she doesn’t receive a big enough settlement that she can stop working forever. I’m guessing THAT’S what she’s banking on. (Pun intended)

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