In May of 2013, the United States District Court in the Western District of Kentucky heard a case where a female worker sued her former employer alleging that it acted improperly during the course of her employment terminating her because of her sex and pregnancy. (See Sullivan v. Paycor, Inc., 2013 WL 2286069 (W.D. Ky 2013)). The female Louisville sexual harassment plaintiff filed a five count complaint alleging gender discrimination, hostile work environment, constructive discharge, retaliation, and fraud. The defendant moved to dismiss counts 2 – 5. Plaintiff’s Louisville sexual harassment lawyer responded to defendant’s motion.
Plaintiff was hired by the defendant in October of 2009. During that time, plaintiff’s immediate supervisor would ask her to arrange dates for him and discussed his sex life with her. During that time, this supervisors started having an affair with a subordinate and as a result, neglected to assist and train plaintiff. Thus, plaintiff put her resume online to find another job. Plaintiff’s regional manager saw her resume online and requested she stop looking for another job. In December of 2010, plaintiff told the regional manager that her supervisor’s relationship had interfered with her ability to perform her job responsibilities. Then one month later, plaintiff announced her pregnancy. Then two weeks later she received her first negative review. A short time later she was given a choice of resigning immediately and they would not contest her unemployment claim, or improve her performance within a month or face termination. Plaintiff decided to resign.
At issue before this Louisville sexual harassment court was the defendant’s motion to dismiss counts 2 – 5. The court looked at the complaint and checked to see if contained sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. (cites omitted). The court looked at each count independently.
As to the Louisville hostile work environment count, the court looked at whether plaintiff had pled a prima facie case. Though the court found it a close call, in that there was no testimony given at this time, the court did not dismiss the claim, as it was premature to do so. Her Louisville sexual harassment lawyer one this round.
As to the Louisville constructive discharge claim, the Louisville plaintiff in this sexual harassment case has to show that the abusive working environment became so intolerable that her resignation qualified as a fitting response. (cites omitted). As an independent cause of action, the court based on these facts did not agree that it should stay and thus dismissed this count. Her Louisville sexual harassment lawyer lost this count.
Next, the court looked at the KCRA retaliation claim where plaintiff told her regional manager about the affair her supervisor was having and then announced her pregnancy. “To establish a retaliation claim, Sullivan must show that her report and announcement constitute protected activities under KRS section 344.040.” Id. The court applies the four part test to establish retaliation by looking if the plaintiff proved that she 1) the employee engaged in protected activity, 2) the employer knew of the exercise of the protected right, 3) an adverse employment action was subsequently taken against the employee, and 4) there was a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse employment action. (cites omitted). After looking at all the facts and other case law, the court followed case law that held “favoritism, unfair treatment and unwise business decisions do not violate Title VII unless based on a prohibited classification. We decline to extend Title VII to include consensual romantic involvements…” (cites omitted). “sexual relationships between coworkers should not be subject to Title VII scrutiny, so long as they are personal, social relationships.” (cites omitted). “The law is clear that preferential treatment of a paramour is not unlawful because it does not discriminate against anyone on account of his or her gender” (cites omitted). Thus the court dismissed count 4.
As to Count 5, the fraud claim, the court denied the motion to dismiss as premature. There were still questions of facts that had to be discovered.
If you have been the subject of a Kentucky sexual harassment case, please call and speak to a Louisville sexual harassment 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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