Horseplay Gone Too Far!

I have an employee who was engaged in a conversation with a temp (on a 3 week assignment) The perm employee made a statement that she has different personalities and she knows of two of them. The temp assuming she's joking turns to another perm employee (as up to this point they all had a good rapport) and starts to joke that the third personality may be like a Sybil or a Carrie character from the movies. After a few minutes of chatter with the 2nd perm employee, the first employee with the personality picks up a lotion bottle and flings it in the temp's direction allowing a highly fragranced lotion to land in his hair arm and pants. The temp goes to the bathroom to clean up and upon return says the aggressor (1st employee) states to him "you know you wish you were black".  <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Here are some other factors to assist with weigh in as to how to proceed

  • There was a witness to the lotion but not the comment
  • Same witness also witnessed same aggressor walk behind and bump another employee with her body on one occasion and yell boo at her on another
  • Temp is white, aggressor is black
  • Aggressor is known for sometimes over the top horseplay (which I'm just finding out about)
  • Temp said he almost started not to come back, is not afraid but has vertigo and was frightened by her quick movements. He felt violated and fears retaliation if I take action which I've assured him will not take place.

I initially came away Friday thinking I'd bypass the oral warning and give this employee a Written Warning and counsel her on horseplay but now I'm wondering if I should suspend her as this is more like an assault and her actions are almost tantamount to bulllying!

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