Bruce’s Summary: Although this case was decided in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and not the Ninth Circuit covering California, it’s a federal issue affecting all states under a Title VII violation. In same-sex complaints, the authors stated that not only does the Plaintiff have to demonstrate that they were subjected to a hostile and offensive working environment but also prove that the unwanted attention resulted from sexual desire or hostility to the presence of members of that gender in the workplace and show that the employer failed to appropriately respond once it became award of the conduct.
The Plaintiff complained three times over a six month period despite the fact the employer terminated the co-worker, the Plaintiff won. On appeal, the Employer claimed the Plaintiff had not met his burden of proving liability under Title VII and lost.
The court said physical contact requires fewer occasions than verbal acts, the employers response to the complaint was not reasonable and the harasser had been accused before of similar conduct and the employer had failed to suspend during the last investigation allowing the Harasser to continue to work alongside the plaintiff. Another example of the importance of taking all complaints seriously. Good article. “None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.”