Menopause is no joking matter. It's an important lesson that cost one male lawyer a pretty penny.
Attorney Camilo Salas found himself at the center of a legal battle after he made an allegedly sexist remark toward a female colleague at a deposition. After female attorney Dora Monserrate-Peñagarícano made a comment about the room being hot, Salas commented, "You're not getting menopause, I hope."
According to Bloomberg Business, Salas continued to refer to menopause as a "medical condition." The comments were made in a room filled with 14 other attorneys, most of whom were men, which made Monserrate feel "humiliated, embarrassed and demeaned as a woman," Law 360 reports.
She filed a motion to have Salas removed from the case. But given that Salas doesn't have a history of this kind of poor behavior and apologized profusely after he realized the comments were offensive, the judge gave him a more lenient ruling.
Salas has been ordered to pay $1,000 in legal fees to Monserrate and has six months to complete a course on professionalism.
Salas has maintained that he didn't mean to be offensive and was referring to menopause as a medical term, rather than something sexist. However, Judge Francisco Besosa found that the comments were intended to "humiliate Ms. Monserrate on the basis of her age and gender.”
"When an attorney engages in discriminatory behavior, it reflects not only on the attorney’s lack of professionalism, but also tarnishes the image of the entire legal profession and disgraces our system of justice,” Besosa continued in his ruling. “This conduct is adverse to the goals of justice and cannot be permitted to find a safe haven in the practice of law.”
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