Demean Machine

Owner of health-food chain accused of disparaging female employees

Lansdale, 39, was the store manager for Bullock's in Scottsdale Fashion Square until that store closed. She went to work for Chalpin a short time later.

During her short tenure at the company, Lansdale was given a hefty raise -- from $45,000 to $80,000 a year -- and received all of her bonuses. Montoya notes that giving her the raises and bonuses doesn't jibe with Chalpin's claims now that she was a poor employee.

Montoya says Lansdale at first ignored Chalpin's cutting remarks and sexist behavior, thinking things would get better. "She tried to pretend he was kidding," Montoya says.

Hi-Health employs about 400 workers, most of them women.
Paolo Vescia
Hi-Health employs about 400 workers, most of them women.

But when Chalpin made the comment to Marty Baird during his job interview about her being slow because she was a woman, she decided to confront him, Montoya says.

She complained privately to Chalpin that she didn't like the comments he was making about her and other women. But instead of stopping, "things got worse," Montoya says.

So why did she stay with the company?

"That's a good question," Montoya says. "She hoped things were going to get better."

Now, Lansdale is hoping a federal jury agrees that a boss shouldn't be allowed to make rude remarks about his female employees. The jury will be asked, among other things, to decide if a reasonable person would find the number and kinds of remarks pervasive and severe.

Perhaps Marty Baird, the job candidate, said it best in his deposition.

"I guess with all that's written about it, the print and all the media attention it gets, that you don't expect to see it or hear it or be around it . . . direct derogatory comments about a woman based on gender.

"I just didn't think that stuff like that still happened."

Contact Patti Epler at her online address:

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