Workplace Tort Highlighted: Employee Suffers Waterboarding Incident

Preventative measures pay dividends. Prosper Inc. of Provo, Utah could certainly use some helpful tips from its employment counsel. In a story that seems more fiction than news, the company is accused of, among other things, waterboarding an employee as part of a “team-building exercise.”

Supervisor, Joshua Christopherson, was not pleased with his sales team, whose numbers were evidently not up to par. Christopherson brought his employees outside, told them they would do an exercise, and asked for a volunteer. Chad Hudgens unsuspectingly raised his hand. Christopherson instructed Hudgens to lie down on the hill on which they stood. Chistopherson then poured water from a gallon-sized container over Hudgens’ nose and mouth.

From Hudgen’s perspective, the experience was anything but pleasant:

So they held me down and the next thing I know, Josh has a gallon jug of water and he’s pouring it on my face. I can’t scream because the water’s going down my throat. And halfway through he stopped for a second. I tried to mumble the words, “Stop, knock it off.” I tried to get that out and he continued to pour. I’m not getting any air. Toward the end, I’m starting to black out. I’m getting very dizzy, light-headed. The sensation that’s going through my head is, “I’m going to drown.”

According to Prosper, Christopherson told executives that he was inspired by reading about the Greek philosopher Socrates, who is believed to have once submerged a student’s head under water and telling him that he must desire to learn as much as he wanted air. The Company’s General Counsel, George Brunt, did not deny the fact that Hudgens was essentially waterboarded. Amazingly, Brunt boldly commented: “I don’t know if this would even be an issue if it weren’t for Guantanamo Bay.” Company President, David Ellis, attempted to downplay the waterboarding incident as well: “How many times did the CIA even do waterboarding? Three times?”

To read more, check out the Washington Post’s article entitled, Team-Building or Torture? Court Will Decide.