Employees & the right to erm … play at work
From M24Digital 11/05/11:
A woman aged 36 was enabled by the justice [read court] to masturbate in her workplace because she has a strange disease.
This is the story of Ana Catarina Bezerra Silvares, an employee of an accounting firm, a divorced mother of three who lives in the village Vila Velha, Espírito Santo.
The woman suffers from a rare condition known as “compulsion orgasmic”, caused by a chemical alteration in the brain region of the cortex, which leads her to masturbate several times a day to relieve the deep anguish that it causes.
Under this circumstance, Bezerra started legal proceedings with the company where she works that eventually won and that enables to masturbate for 15 minutes every two hours, besides using the computer to see erotic images that stimulate her desire.
By the sounds of it, her desire doesn’t need any help being stimulated!!
The Brazilian newspaper North Regiao reported that the woman
confessed, “There was a day I had to masturbate 47 times”, adding: “I began to suppose that this could not be normal, and decided to seek help.”
Currently, Bezerra follows a treatment that includes a potent cocktail of sedatives which gets her to “only” masturbate 18 times a day.
I wonder whether an employment tribunal would have come to a similar conclusion should the situation have arisen in England or Wales. Does such a condition (assuming this is real*) constitute a disability for the purposes of disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010? I’m no employment law expert but the definition of ‘disability’ for these purposes seems pretty broad.
*(I suspect ‘compulsion orgasmic’ is a rather clumsy translation – I can’t find much on Google about it, apart from this story. That said, am I getting the whiff of a fake story?)
I also wonder what arrangements the employer has had to make. Surely Silvares doesn’t just sit there in an open office, casually browsing porn and playing with herself? (Heck, that kind of thing has been known to draw an audience!) Couldn’t she scuttle off discreetly to the ladies loos when the need arises? If not, I hope she’s got a secluded office and protective cover on her office chair!!