In November of 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky decided a case that alleged a hostile work environment based on sex in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (See Davis v. L’Oreal USA S/D, Inc., 2120 WL 5930626 (W.D. KY 2012)).
Plaintiff in this Kentucky hostile work environment based on sex case began working for the Defendant in March of 2001. Most of this Kentucky hostile work environment case stems form her time working as a raw material sampler during several months in 2009 and 2010. Id. During those months a Mr. Imhoff began working with the Plaintiff on the chemical receiving dock. Id. Mr. Imhoff began making Plaintiff feel very uncomfortable. Id. Plaintiff claimed that Mr. Imhoff would look and stare at her crotch and breasts all the time. Id. Also, Plaintiff claimed that Mr. Imhoff touched Plaintiff on two separate incidents.
After the first incident of touching, Plaintiff reported it to her ‘lead’ shift supervisor. Also, another supervisor spoke to Plaintiff and then Mr. Imhoff and determined it was more of a ‘he said/she said’ incident and nothing more. Id. But, then Plaintiff alleges that Mr. Imhoff did it again. And this time Plaintiff filed a formal complaint. Id. Based on the company doing an investigation, the company could not substantiate the claims so they told Plaintiff to go back to work.
Since the hostile work environment based on sex did not stop, in June of 2011, Plaintiff filed her lawsuit. Under Title VII, a claim for hostile environment sex discrimination is actionable. Id. In a case such as the one at hand, when there is coworker harassment, the employer’s liability is direct, not derivative. (cites omitted). “To establish a coworker hostile work environment claim, a plaintiff must show 1) that she is a member of a protected class, 2) that she was subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment, 3) that the harassment was based on her sex, 4) that the harassment created a hostile work environment, and 5) that the employer is liable.” (cites omitted). Further “to establish employer liability, a plaintiff must show that 1) the employer knew or should have known of the harassment and 2) that its response manifested indifference or unreasonableness in light of the facts.” (cites omitted).
Unfortunately for the Plaintiff constant staring, without more, does not create a hostile work environment. (cites omitted). Also, the Court held that the responses by the employer were reasonable. Id. They did a formal investigation and interviewed witnesses. And though Plaintiff testified that she was actually ‘touched’ by Mr. Imhoff, those two touches without more (and staring is not enough), was not enough for the court to hold that there was a hostile work environment based on Plaintiff’s sex.
If you have been the subject of a Kentucky hostile work environment based on sex case, please call and speak to a Kentucky hostile work environment based on sex lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew Alitowski, P.A. at 888-ASK-ANDREW (275-2637) or contact us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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