If you were advertising a legal secretary position on Craiglist, would you post it in the Jobs section under "Legal/Paralegal," or in the Gigs section under "Adult"? If you're Illinois lawyer Samir Zia Chowhan you'd choose Option Two, because you'd expect your secretary to be "adult"—with you! On the clock and on the desk, never sleep, never rest.
Asking your employees to have sex with you on the regular is a perfectly reasonable request to make, if you consider sexual harassment—like lawyering—to be your "calling." According to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (IARDC), in May 2009 Chowhan—a Chicago-based immigration lawyer—felt it was perfectly reasonable for him to post this ad to Craigslist from his office computer:
Loop law firm looking to hire am [sic] energetic woman for their open secretary/legal assistant position. Duties will include general secretarial work, some paralegal work and additional duties for two lawyers in the firm. No experience required, training will be provided. Generous annual salary and benefits will be provided, including medical, dental, life, disability, 401(k) etc. If interested, please send current resume and a few pictures along with a description of your physical features, including measurements. We look forward to meeting you.
Upon reading the advertisement, you might wonder a. what's wrong with male secretaries, and b. what your physical features had to do with performing paralegal work. (Maybe you would assume that Chowhan was a figurative artist who liked to paint his secretaries.) But in this shit economy, you have to try even the creepy-sounding jobs. So a woman named Debbi sent in her contact/work history info and her measurements. She got back a multi-paged response that included this helpful supplementary info:
As this is posted in the "adult gigs" section, in addition to the legal work, you would be required to have sexual interaction with me and my partner, sometimes together sometimes separate. This part of the job would require sexy dressing and flirtatious interaction with me and my partner, as well as sexual interaction. You will have to be comfortable doing this with us.
If you think you're comfortable so far, please let me know and we can proceed with the process.
The next step is to set up an interview. When are you available to interview? I am free to interview today. Please let me know what your availability is.
So casual! Breezy, even. But then it gets heavy:
Lastly, we've actually hired a couple of girls in the past for this position. But they have not been able to handle the sexual aspect of the job later. We have to be sure you're comfortable with that aspect, because I don't want you to do anything that you're not comfortable with. So since that time, we've decided that as part of the interview process you'll be required to perform for us sexually (i didn't do this before with the other girls i hired, now i think i have to because they couldn't handle it). Because that aspect is an integral part of the job, I think it's necessary to see if you can do that, because it'll predict future behavior of you being able to handle it when you have the job.
If you're still okay with everything, let me know what you're availability is and we can figure out a time for you to come in and interview. Let me know. Thanks for your interest.
Ah well, at least he was being strategic. Only up to a point, though: In July, the IARDC suspended Chowhan for one year; the Illinois Supreme Court just upheld that decision. A year should be enough time to figure out how Craigslist is supposed to work.