Elizabeth Young May 23, 2013, 6:40pm

NEW ORLEANS –  The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's awards of summary judgement and of costs and fees on behalf of a hair salon in a sexual harassment suit brought by a former employee.

Matthew Provensal originally filed suit against H20 Hair Inc. and Michael Gaspard, his former supervisor, alleging sexual harassment. Provensal worked at the salon as a massage therapist and claimed that he was sexually harassed by his supervisor during a personal massage and that he was also discriminated against due to his religion.

In a per curiam opinion, Circuit Judges Jerry E. Smith, Edward C. Prado and Stephen A. Higginson wrote that Provensal’s claims were vague and lacked supporting facts. The court noted that with regard to the claim of religious discrimination Provensal “did not allege a single specific incident of slander or defamation.” He could not prove that he had received a promotion or demotion, or any change in wages while he was employed at H20, and failed to explain how Gaspard had harassed him outside of undressing in preparation for a massage. The district court dismissed the suit and awarded the salon costs and attorney’s fees.

Provensal then appealed the award but the 5th Circuit upheld the lower court’s order. The court held that all of Provensal’s claims were both “meritless” and “frivolous” and that this was obvious from the outset of the litigation.

Case No. 12-31092.

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