In January of 2013, the Kentucky Court of Appeals decided a case that involved sexual harassment, sexual discrimination and unlawful retaliation. (See Thompson v. Louisville Metro Government, 2013 WL 191878 (Ky.App. 2013).
In this case, the employee was a female corrections officer. She had worked for the Defendant since 9197. In 2005 a co-worker expressed an interest in seeing her romantically, but she declined. Id. But then Plaintiff worked her way up and in 2007 there was a promotion available for Plaintiff that she did not get. Plaintiff felt that it was because of this earlier romantic matter. Of the two people who got the promotion one of them had more experience and the other the other had done better on the tests.
But, since Plaintiff kept hearing co-workers talking about that past romantic non-incident, Plaintiff thought that the reason she did not get it was because of her sex and so she sued alleging in Louisville sexual harassment, sexual discrimination and unlawful retaliation.
In Kentucky, under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA), it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an individual because of that individual’s sex, and it is unlawful for any person to retaliate against an individual because that person has opposed such an unlawful practice. (cites omitted).
“To establish a prima facie case of hostile work environment under KCRA, a plaintiff must show that: 1) she is a member of a protected class, 2) she was subject 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.” (cites omitted).
In the case at hand, all that Plaintiff complained about was that she heard ‘rumors’ about her. This Court held that Plaintiff failed to establish that the rumors were “severe or pervasive enough to create an environment that reasonable person would find hostile or abusive.” Id. The rumors were only sporadic said the court.
Next, Plaintiff’s second claim is for discrimination on the basis of sex. Id. To establish a prima facie case of sex discrimination a plaintiff must show: 1) that she is a member of a protected class, 2) that she was qualified for a and applied for an available position, 3) that she did not receive the job, and 4) that the position remained upon and the employer sought other applicants. (cites omitted).
In the case at hand, the court held that the Plaintiff did meet her burden. But, then the burden switches to the Defendant to articulate a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for its action. Id. The Defendant did do this by rationally explaining why it chose the two people it did for the job. It is then Plaintiff’s burden to show this reasoning is pretextual. “A plaintiff cannot prevail on a discrimination claim merely by questioning or disagreeing with the soundness of the employer’s business judgment or practices in deciding not to promote her; the plaintiff must show that her sex was a motivating factor in the denial of her promotion.” (cites omitted).
Finally, as to the Louisville retaliation claim, plaintiff must show: 1) that plaintiff engaged in an activity protected by the KCRA, 2) that the exercise of his civil rights was known by the defendant, 3) that, thereafter, the defendant took an employment action adverse to the plaintiff, and 4) that there was a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse employment action. (cites omitted). Plaintiff in the case at hand could not show that she her protected actions resulted in a materially adverse employment action. Id. It was over 2 years since the romantic incident occurred to her not getting the promotion.
If you have been the subject of a Louisville Sexual Harassment, Sex Discrimination and Unlawful Retaliation case, please call and speak to a Louisville Sexual Harassment, Sex Discrimination and Unlawful 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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