Here’s a case that shows how dangerous it can be to have a sexual harasser on board—especially if he is a manager.
Recent case: Judith went to work for a Checkers drive-in restaurant. Her new supervisor told her she would not have a set schedule, but would instead be on call.
Soon, whenever she called for hours, he began telling her how much he desired her sexually—followed by granting her a few hours of work. Each time he began propositioning Judith, she protested and told him to stop.
This continued for about two months until one day when he allegedly grabbed her in the freezer where there were no cameras, exposed himself and tried to kiss her. When she later requested more hours, he told her she wouldn’t “get any” until he did. She quit and sued.
The restaurant chain argued Judith never engaged in protected activity and suffered no harm because she hadn’t been fired.
The court disagreed. Not only was the threat of no hours unless she cooperated an adverse employment action, but Judith’s demand that the manager stop harassing her was itself protected activity. A jury will now decide the case. (Wilson v. Checkers, No. 12-5365, ED PA, 2013)
Final note: Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent all lawsuits. Catching this supervisor early enough might not have been possible. That’s a compelling reason to carry appropriate insurance.