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Practical jokes can cause post-traumatic stress disorder

practical jokes at workI'm a practical joker, and so it's difficult for me at times to define where the line exists between having good fun and going overboard. I imagine that was the case with the co-workers of Norman Trahan, an offshore crane operator and deckhand in November of 2004, when they created a fake HotorNot profile, claiming that he was gay and used crack. See the News.com article in its entirety: "Police Blotter: Fake gay HotorNot profile draws suit."

Here are some of the details surrounding this event:

Trahan soon was deluged with hundreds of e-mail messages from intrigued, would-be suitors, much to the amusement of his co-workers who were watching him checking his in-box during a broadcast of Monday Night Football. He says in court documents that "they began laughing" and he experienced "the constant ridicule and insults of many of the team member employees."

Anyway, in December 2005, Trahan sued Louisiana-based Laborde Marine, which in turn sued Major Equipment, which employed the person under suspicion of creating the profile. His complaint says Laborde Marine is "guilty of negligence and failure to provide plaintiff with a safe place to work." It claims the incident led to post-traumatic stress disorder, aggravation of a prior emotional condition, mental pain and suffering, loss of future earnings, discomfort and inconvenience, and so on, totaling more than $1 million in damages.

A federal judge rejected Major Equipment's request for summary judgment, meaning the case can now proceed to a trial.

Post-traumatic stress disorder? More than $1 million in damages? You've got to be kidding me.... Talk about a practical joke gone bad! Have you played practical jokes on your co-workers that may or may not have turned out exactly how you wanted them to turn out? Share your funny/not-so-funny stories with the rest of the TechRepublic community.

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Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.

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