The thought of having to get naked and talk about sex with a swathe of male colleagues has led an American lawyer to sue his former firm, which he claims tried to force him to attend an all-male retreat involving nudity and a penis-shaped "talking stick".
According to AOL News, lawyer Steven Eggleston is suing US firm Bisnar Chase for allegedly badgering and yelling at him, then slashing his pay to zero, when he twice refused to attend the retreat.
Eggleston says his employer approached him about attending the retreat, sponsored by the ManKind Project, soon after he started working at the firm. Curious about what was involved, he did a Google search of the retreat and was dismayed at what he found: nude walks in the forest, sharing details of sexual encounters whilst holding the rather phallic "talking stick", getting cosy with your neighbour's (ahem) "masculinity" and talking through your problems.
When a radio talk show host questioned the retreat organiser about the point of some of the above activities, his response was: "The weekend is about giving men an opportunity to look at what's not working and working in their lives, to become better men of the world, better men with their families and their children."
Eggleston was apparently not convinced, and promptly told his boss he'd be staying out of the forest and keeping his pants on.
He then alleges he felt compelled to leave the firm after only eight months, before completing numerous commission-based cases.
Eggleston's boss, however, sees the matter quite differently, telling AOL News that Eggleston was not a regular employee, but instead had been given a loan that had to be repaid after six months with the firm.
"Because this group has a nudity angle, he filed a lawsuit to extort money out of me," he said. "At the end of a six-month period, he owed me $50,000. So what did he do? He quit."
Maybe the two should sit down with the "talking stick" and sort out their differences.