Massage therapist claims employer created hostile work environment

Michelle Massey Nov. 29, 2010, 10:00am


A male massage therapist has filed a lawsuit against his employer alleging he was demoted for not participating in sexual activities with his male supervisor.

Claiming a violation of his civil rights, Matthew Earle Provensal filed suit against Michael John Gaspard and H20 Hair Inc. d/b/a H20 Spa and Salon on Nov. 9 in federal court in New Orleans.

Provensal claims the defendant asked to him to be his "personal masseuse" and made several sexual advances. When Provensal resisted the alleged advances, he was demoted from head therapist to a regular staff therapist and given undesirable hours as a punishment for not engaging in sexual activities, the lawsuit claims.

The defendants are accused of creating a hostile work environment through verbal insults, among other allegations.

The plaintiff is seeking more than $1 million in damages for emotional distress and economic losses, physical injuries, loss of civil rights, punitive and exemplary damages, attorney's fees, interest and court costs.

Provensal is represented by C. Arlen Braud II and Michelle O. Gallagher of Braud & Gallagher in Madisonville.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10-cv-04276

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