In sexual harassment cases a brief period of employment and the prompt termination of the sexual harasser following notice to the employer are often seen as barriers to proceeding with legal action. Wilson v. Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73062(May 22, 2013) (Padova, J.), demonstrates where there is repeated sexual harassment by a manager, even during a brief time period, there may be valid sexual harassment and retaliation claims.
In Wilson, the Plaintiff employee, a crew member at a restaurant, worked 11 shifts totaling 40 hours over a 6 week period. Each time the employee worked she was subjected to some form of sexual harassment by the restaurant’s manager including the manager, placing her hand on his genitals, whispering that she was “sexy”, using crass and explicit language, stating that he sexually desired her, graphically describing a sexual fantasies, physically touching the plaintiff while he passed her, rubbing his genitals against her and numerous sexually explicit remarks. The employee rejected the manager’s sexual advances and told him to stop each time. The last day she worked the manager followed Plaintiff into the freezer area touched her breasts, grabbed her between the legs, tried to kiss her, exposed his genitals, and invited her to perform oral sex on him. Later that day, the Plaintiff called the manager to ask about her schedule, and he told her that “when you give me some pussy, you get some time.” Thereafter, the Plaintiff checked the employee schedule, learned that she was not scheduled and did not call for work again.
Checkers maintains a toll-free telephone number for employees to report any workplace issue. Plaintiff called the Employee Hotline to report the manager was sexually harassing her. Checkers then initiated an investigation and while the manager denied engaging in the conduct, he admitted that he and the Plaintiff had a consensual sexual relationship. Checkers maintains a policy governing “closer than normal relationships” between supervisors and subordinates which requires that a supervisor who becomes involved in a relationship with a subordinate must report that relationship to Checkers or be subject to termination. Checkers fired the manager for violating the policy.
The Court concluded that the manager’s refusal to schedule Plaintiff for shifts on the employee schedule constituted a denial of hours which subjected the employee to an adverse tangible employment action, establishing a quid pro quo case of sexual harassment. The Court also found that the Plaintiff employee had a valid retaliation claim because despite Plaintiff’s complaints about the manager’s offensive conduct, his sexual advances became more aggressive over time and unlike the other employees; she was never given shifts on the employee schedule and statement that constituted retaliation for her complaints.
For more information on sexual harassment and Abramson Employment Law see http://www.job-discrimination.com/lawyer-attorney-2130161.html.