Written by Louis Weisberg
Walker appointee says workplace harassment of gays is legal
Nov 23, 2011

A commissioner on the board that makes final decisions in cases involving workplace discrimination says Wisconsin law does not prohibit anti-gay harassment on the job.

Her two fellow commissioners strongly disagree.

Laurie McCallum, who was recently appointed by Gov. Scott Walker to a six-year term on the state’s Labor and Industry Review Commission, wrote that the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act applies only to sexual harassment. That contention was the basis for her dissenting opinion in a case involving Milwaukeean Chris Bowen, a machine operator who was subjected to years of anti-gay harassment as an employee of Stroh Precision Die Casting.

In a 2-1 decision, commissioners Robert Glaser and Ann L. Crump found that Stroh was responsible for fostering a workplace environment hostile to Bowen because of his sexual orientation. Stroh did not deny that the harassment occurred; nor did the company argue that anti-gay harassment is allowed under state law during the eight years that the case bounced around the court system.

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