In September of 2010, the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky heard a case that involved and employee who sued alleging sexual harassment and retaliation. (See Frederick v. Oldham County Fiscal Court, 2010 WL 3516426).
In this case, the female plaintiff’s supervisor had sexual conduct with a few employees and told them and others about other relationships he’s had. Further, tis supervisor kept pornography on his work computer and showed it to other employees. This place of work was latent with a sexual atmosphere. One employee pierced body parts of employees on company property and another testified about all the graphic conversations that occurred on work property during work hours. Thus the Kentucky Sexual Harassment and Retaliation attorneys she hired filed the lawsuit because of the bad situation that was going on at work.
The plaintiff was hired as a part time paramedic. Eventually her supervisor hit on her and asked her if she’d have sex with him. She said no. He then began to send emails with sexually explicit pictures of his wife. Plaintiff did not complain about these. She did complain about him swatting her bottom, but that was it. Eventually, plaintiff started to respond to his emails and eventually fell in love with this supervisor. They had sex together. They even had sex with this supervisor’s wife.
This supervisor finally got promoted and a few months later plaintiff decided to stop having sex with him and this is when he got aggressive and forced her to have sex with him. But, plaintiff did not report this.
About a year and a half after plaintiff began working for the company, someone leaked their relationship to the board and that is when they instituted a new sexual harassment policy. Plaintiff’s Kentucky Sexual Harassment and Retaliation attorneys tried to find out who this was.
Plaintiff’s sexual harassment claim fell under the quid pro quo and hostile work environment sexual harassment types. In quid pro quo sexual harassment, an employer demands sexual favors from an employee in return for a job benefit. Based on the evidence, plaintiff produced enough evidence to believe that when she tried to end the relationship, the supervisor’s threats of her employment were enough to raise it this level and satisfy the quid pro quo elements.
A plaintiff may also establish a violation of Title VII by proving that the discrimination based on sex created a hostile or abusive work environment. (cites omitted). To establish a prima facie case of a hostile work environment based on sex, a plaintiff must show that 1) she is a member of a protected class, 2) she was subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment, 3) the harassment was based on her sex, 4) the harassment created a hostile work environment, and that 5) the employer is vicariously liable. And the showing of the hostile work environment requires that the plaintiff show she was subject to severe or pervasive sexually harassing conduct.
Further, the court noted case law that held to avail itself to an affirmative defense the employer must show by a preponderance of the evidence that a) the employer exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any sexually harassing behavior, and b) that the plaintiff employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer or to avoid harm otherwise.
Based on the evidence presented, this court in this Kentucky Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit held that the employer did not have the correct policy in place. Accordingly the sexual harassment claim stood. Plaintiff’s Kentucky Sexual Harassment and Retaliation attorneys had to get copies of all their policies to figure this out.
As for the Kentucky retaliation claim, Kentucky law and federal law differ on the issue of whether an individual rather than an employer can be held liable for retaliation, in that Kentucky allows individual liability and Title VII does not. To prove a Kentucky relation claim, plaintiff must prove that 1) she engaged in activity protected by Title VII, 2) this exercise of protected rights was known to defendant, 3) defendant thereafter took adverse employment action against the plaintiff, or the plaintiff was subjected to severe or pervasive retaliatory harassment by a supervisor, and 4) there was a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse employment action or harassment.
To this claim, the court did find minimal but sufficient evidence to show that plaintiff engaged in protected activity. The court kept two of the defendants on the hook for this but let two others go since plaintiff could not produce sufficient evidence to show that they retaliated against her.
If you have been the subject of a Louisville sexual harassment and retaliation case, please call and speak to a Louisville sexual harassment and retaliation lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew Alitowski, P.A. at 888-ASK-ANDREW (888-275-2637) or contact us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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