State seeks $3,700 for man in sex harassment case

State seeks $3,700 for man in sex harassment case

MICHAEL R. ZAHN

The Journal staff

The state attorney general’s office is seeking $3,700 in compensation for a flower shop employee who was fired after he refused to sleep with his boss.

Assistant Attorney General Jennifer D. Ryan filed suit Tuesday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court against the owners of the now-defunct Milwaukee Blooms flower shop, which was at 789 N. Jefferson St.

The suit is an attempt to force the owners to compensate Scott R. Mutchler, of Milwaukee, who worked at the shop in 1990.

The suit also asks that the owners be prohibited from operating any business in Wisconsin unless they comply with state employment law, and that they seek a consultant’s advice on how to avoid future sexual harassment.

An administrative law judge for the state’s Equal Rights Division had recommended those penalties after hearing testimony from Mutchler and the shop’s manager and part owner, Andrew Eschweiler. The attorney general’s office took up the case after the owners failed to comply with the judge’s recommendations.

“When Eschweiler became aware that Mutchler had broken up with his lover, Eschweiler told Mutchler that he considered him attractive,” according to the administrative law judge’s decision, which is attached to the suit. “Mutchler also noticed that Eschweiler seemed to be brushing up against him unnecessarily.”

In November 1990, Eschweiler offered Mutchler a ride home from the flower shop. They walked to Eschweiler’s nearby apartment to get Eschweiler’s car. When they got inside, Eschweiler gave Mutchler an envelope containing $500, according to the judge’s decision.

“Eschweiler said Mutchler could keep the money if Mutchler would sleep with him,” according to the decision. “Mutchler refused.”

Several days later, Eschweiler fired Mutchler, according to the decision.

Eschweiler could not be reached for comment on the attorney general’s suit. The action does not identify the store’s other owners.

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