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February 29, 2008 10:58 pm
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From the Salt Lake Tribune (courtesy of TPM Reader DB)

A supervisor at a motivational coaching business in Provo is accused of waterboarding an employee in front of his sales team to demonstrate that they should work as hard on sales as the employee had worked to breathe.

In a lawsuit filed last month, former Prosper, Inc. salesman Chad Hudgens alleges his managers also allowed the supervisor to draw mustaches on employees’ faces, take away their chairs and beat on their desks with a wooden paddle “because it resulted in increased revenues for the company.”

Prosper president Dave Ellis responded that the allegations amount to “sensationalized” versions of events that have gone uncorroborated by Hudgens’ former coworkers.

“They just roll their eyes and say, ‘This is ridiculous . . . That’s not how it went down,’ ” Ellis said.

The suit claims that Hudgens’ team leader, Joshua Christopherson, asked for volunteers in May for “a new motivational exercise,” which he did not describe. Hudgens, who was 26 at the time, volunteered in order to “prove his loyalty and determination,” the suit claims.

Christopherson led the sales team to the top of a hill near the office and told Hudgens to lie down with his head downhill, the suit claims. Christopherson then told the rest of the team to hold Hudgens by the arms and legs.

Christopherson poured water from a gallon jug over Hudgens’ mouth and nostrils – like the interrogation strategy known as “waterboarding” – and told the team members to hold Hudgens down as he struggled, the suit alleges.

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