Wednesday, December 19

Ho Ho Whoa!

Daniel Schwartz at Connecticut Employment Law Blog (which graphically puts our fledgling rag to shame) has brought a very important, under reported holiday issue to everyone's attention - sexual harassment of mall Santa Clauses.

Yep. Apparently, creepy women older girls have been waiting in line to talk to Santa, hoping to raise their rank on the naughty list. From the Hartford Courant (via the post):

A 33-year-old woman who posed for a picture with Santa Claus at Danbury Fair Mall over the weekend wanted more than a photo, police said.

Sandrama Lamy inappropriately touched a 65-year-old worker dressed as Santa on Saturday while sitting on his lap, police said. She is charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and breach of peace, both misdemeanors.

While the post points out that the real Santa is " independent contractor," his buddies that fill in for him in malls may be employees. So? Liability? Schwartz says probably not, because the DOL regs require that the employer know or should have known the harassment was likely. From the post:

I'm just taking a hunch here, but I'm imagining that this kind of harassment of Santa Claus is pretty rare; thus, its unlikely the employer could have foreseen this kind of harassment. (Readers, please let me know if I'm off base here). And now, after the incident has occurred by this customer, the police have arrested the woman, making it unlikely to occur from her again.

For her part, according to an interview with the Danbury News-Times (via Above the Law), Lamy says didn't do anything wrong. She didn't even sit on his lap:

"Why would I do this? There were so many people there. If he (Santa) needed a few extra bucks I would have given it to him," Lamy said. "I've never been involved in a crime or anything. This is shocking to me."

Ok, that's got to be the quote of the year. Still, what the hell was a 33 year old lady doing in line to see Santa in the first place? You're asking for trouble is all I'm saying. (And you thought that Wizard of Oz kid with the goggles from a Christmas Story was creepy.)

I took my dog to see Santa at PetSmart last year. That gig's probably pretty safe. Maybe you get peed on a little, but I'm thinking mall Santas have to worry about that one anyway.