A man’s naked picture on LinkedIn is at the center of a lawsuit

We've written before about how flirting on LinkedIn is never, ever appropriate, but our imaginations failed to capture just how many boundaries can be crossed on the professional networking platform.

Bloomberg reported that "a mid-level financial industry professional" filing as Jane Doe claimed that a banker trying to recruit her on LinkedIn sent her sexual messages— including a photo of his genitals. The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. These messages were reportedly sent from the banker's corporate account, no less. Doe said she received the photo the day she got engaged.

In the lawsuit, Doe, the employee at a California Fortune 500 company reportedly says that banker is a managing director at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, the investment-banking unit of SunTrust Banks. Because the banker used his corporate account, Doe says that his workplace is to blame, meaning they should be held accountable for his actions.

Now, there's one main thing to be decided upon— if "LinkedIn truly is an extension of the workplace" or not, the publication says.

According to Bloomberg, "the lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for sexual harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent retention and supervision."

So how did things even get to this point?

The banker and Doe had met while working on deal together, according to the lawsuit, and then talked on LinkedIn from December 2015 to March 2017, sending "several dozen messages" back and forth. While the discussion started as one about job opportunities, the banker, who initiated the conversation, started sending inappropriate messages to Doe. They started with "so what are you doing up so late?! Here's my number if you wanna play," and advanced until the banker sent her the picture of his genitals. When she ignored it, he replied, "ugh, I guess I screwed up :disappointed: bummer dude." "

"It's already hard enough being a female in this sector. To be treated as such after working so hard is diminishing...it's insulting, to say the least. I fear, if I bring forward this complaint, it could very well be construed as a limiting factor in what I do for a living. At the same time, if I sit quietly, it eats away at me," Doe told Bloomberg.

Bloomberg points out that LinkedIn users can flag conversations, report and block others on the site, and the site said members can be prohibited from using the platform. But Doe told the publication in a phone interview that she couldn't find a way to block the banker on the LinkedIn app after the photo incident.

Where SunTrust stands

Doe's attorney reportedly told SunTrust about what the banker had allegedly done in a letter last month. But SunTrust's lawyer said "she was 'perplexed'" about why the company's legal team would be held accountable for his actions on his professional account to Doe's attorneys, the complaint reportedly says. She said that what he may have done was "outside the course and scope of his employment." Bloomberg said SunTrust didn't get back to them with a comment on the situation or lawsuit.

But before the lawsuit was filed, a spokesman for SunTrust commented in a statement: "We take allegations of this nature very seriously, do not condone harassing conduct and take appropriate actions as warranted...Once we were made aware of the allegations, we began an investigation that is ongoing."

LinkedIn spokeswoman Suzi Owen also commented, saying that explicit communication like the complaint details "is prohibited and violates our user agreement, and we investigate and take action when violations are identified."

The banker reportedly "didn't immediately return requests for comment," and he still has an existing profile.

The moral of the story is: stay far, far out of "NSFW" territory when using the site. LinkedIn is for business, and business only. Use your business contacts wisely.

This article A man's naked picture on LinkedIn is at the center of a lawsuit appeared first on Ladders.