Obiter Dicta

Tote-Ally Ticked

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“This is for you, ma’am. Enjoy the game.”

“This is not for you, sir.”

That’s about how it went on Moth­­er’s Day 2005 when Michael Cohn attended a Los Angeles Angels of Ana­heim baseball game at Angel Stadium, where wom­en 18 and older were given a red nylon tote bag.

Cohn took umbrage at being denied a bag because of his sex and complained to team officials about what he felt was unfair treatment of male fans. Spokes­man Tim Mead says the team sent Cohn four of the tote bags after receiving his letter.

Cohn, dissatisfied with the team’s response, hired San Diego attorney Alfred Rava and filed a class action lawsuit in May against the team and its sponsor in the tote bag promotion. The suit alleges sex and age discrimination. Cohn is seeking $4,000 for every male who attended the game, as well as attorney fees.

Rava has brought lawsuits against sponsors of other types of gender-specific promotions, such as bars that advertise ladies nights and organizations that offer cut-rate tickets to certain demographic groups.

“I don’t think consumers should be discriminated against,” he says, “because of race, sex or personal characteristics.”

The Angels offered tote bags this year to the first 25,000 people 18 or older attending the game on Moth­er’s Day—regardless of sex.

Mead did not say whether the change was in response to the complaint by Cohn.


Caddie Complains About Catty Comments, Club Coughs Up Cash

Eugene Palumbo played a couple games of golf with a female colleague in July 2003 at the club where he worked as a caddie. He lost both times. Oh, well—no big deal.

Not everyone saw it that way, how­­ever. The manager of the Tallgrass Golf Club in Shoreham, N.Y., decided that all club employees should know the outcome of the games. A sexual harassment law­­suit alleged he accomplished that goal by ridiculing Palumbo’s golfing ability—and deriding his manhood—­in the club newsletter.

According to the suit filed in Sep­tem­ber in the U.S. District Court for the East­ern District of New York, Palum­bo, then 23, was referred to as the “house bitch,” and it was suggested that he move to an area known for its largely gay population. The suit also alleged that Pa­lumbo lost his job after complaining about the ridicule.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawyer Sunu Chandy of New York City represented Palumbo. She says de­roga­tory comments about him appeared in two separate news­­letters. “It went beyond kidding around into a constant harassment,” she says.

Under a settlement agreement, Palumbo was awarded $34,000.

“The conduct in this case involved verbal ridicule and torment,” Chandy said in an EEOC press release, “which created a hostile work environment designed to undermine the dignity of a male employee.”

The attorney for the golf club was unavailable for comment.

Written by Brian Sullivan; Stories by New York Daily News;; Research by Wendell LaGrand.

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