I am not sure how much intelligence it takes to pin a "Kick Me" sign on someone's back, but one imagines it doesn't befit Intel.
Perhaps that's why an employee of the company's New Mexico plant is suing in federal court, after someone allegedly pinned such a sign to his back and then more than one person actually kicked him.
The Associated Press reports that Harvey Palacio went to a senior member of staff named Randy Lehman to ask whether there was a sign on his back.
He claims in a lawsuit that Lehman asked him to turn around. As he did so, the allegation is that another erudite member of staff shouted: "Don't read it, just do it."
This peculiar invocation of Nike's words allegedly motivated Lehman to flex one of his lower limbs and kick Palacio. The lawsuit offers that he kicked him in the behind three times. Hard.
Interlude: These people are, indeed, not 3 years old.
The lawsuit complaint includes Chris Zeltinger, another Intel staffer, who is said to have kicked Palacio twice.
The lawsuit declares: "Palacio felt demoralized and assaulted and he began to cry during the drive home. He could not tell his wife because he was so embarrassed and ashamed."
The aggrieved Intel worker also makes allegations of other forms of bullying, such as having his work bag adorned with trash.
Lehman and Zeltinger have already been convicted of petty misdemeanor battery and fired for their role in this rather base level of alleged humor.
Now Palacio is seeking redress from the company. The company told the AP that it is reviewing the lawsuit, but I have contacted Intel again to ask if it has any further comment.
Palacio believes Intel didn't do enough to stop the harassment.
This doesn't seem like a case where someone had a chip on their shoulder and thought he'd have a little fun. Indeed, Palacio seems convinced that some of this bullying was racially motivated. He is Filipino.
After the battery court case, Lehman's lawyer offered this expression of sorrow on behalf of his client: "He is truly sorry for any shame, sadness or pain the victim felt and his actions were never meant to cause any of those things. My client gave a heartfelt apology at sentencing and his feelings and statements have not changed."
It's hard to imagine how kicking someone because of a sign on their backs wouldn't cause at least some shame, sadness, or pain.
Sometimes, though, human beings do what they do.
This case might only serve to show how much responsibility a company should take for the actions of those who work for it.