In February of 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided a case that involved Kentucky hostile work environment sexual harassment. (See Quinn v. Griffith, 2013 WL 628419 (6th Cir. 2013)). In this case, the plaintiff was hired by the corporate defendant as a bookkeeper in November of 2005. Id. The individual defendant was plaintiff’s supervisor. In June of 2008 the plaintiff reported to the company president that she was being harassed. After an investigation, the corporate defendant found that the allegations of hostile work environment sexual harassment were not substantiated.
Plaintiff filed her Kentucky hostile work environment sexual harassment case under Title VII in July of 2009. After a jury trial, she was awarded compensatory damages against the corporate defendant in the amount of $25,000 and punitive damages of $175,000 and compensatory damages against the individual defendant for $25,000. The court because of statutory caps reduced the punitive damages to $50,000 because the defendant only had employees between 15 to 100. Plaintiff’s Kentucky Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment lawyer did a very good job in winning this case.
Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sex that creates a hostile or abusive working environment. Id. Where a plaintiff employee suffered no tangible employment action, as in the instant case, the employer can defend against vicarious liability for sexual harassment by its supervisor by establishing by a preponderance of the evidence the affirmative defense… which requires them showing two elements: 1) that it exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any sexually harassing behavior, and 2) that plaintiff unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventative or corrective opportunities provided by the employer or to avoid harm otherwise. Id.
In the case at hand, this appellate court ruled that the lower court’s rulings were correct. The Kentucky Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment lawyer for the plaintiff was able to persuade this court to not overturn the lower court’s rulings. This is now almost 4 year since the original lawsuit was filed. The defendant failed to raise in its answer these defenses and thus waived these defenses. Also, this court found the lower court in this Kentucky hostile work environment sexual harassment case did agree that the response by defendant as to the issue of vicarious liability was clearly a contested issue. Further, there was no evidence presented by the defendants that it exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any sexually harassing behavior.
In Kentucky Title VII allows for the recovery of punitive damages. The defendant corporation tried to argue that it did not deserve such an award against it because it did not do anything with malice or with reckless indifference. But, the jury found otherwise, and this court would not overturn the jury’s award.
If you have been the subject of a Kentucky Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment Case, please call and speak to a Kentucky Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment 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.
If you are injured…Ask Andrew!!!