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Court: Same-sex come-on isn’t worth $90,000

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in Human Resources

What’s an attempted liaison by a same-sex manager worth in Texas? A jury said $90,000. Now a Texas appeals court has reversed that decision.

Recent case: Michael Cancel, a custodian going through a messy divorce, accepted an invitation by a male department manager to talk about his problems. Once behind closed doors, the manager asked Cancel to take off his clothes and suggested that Cancel might want to have his picture taken. He also offered Cancel his phone number. A very upset Cancel declined and left the room. He never ran into the manager again.

Cancel quit and sued, alleging a sexually hostile environment. A jury awarded him $90,000. The employer appealed.

The Court of Appeals of Texas reversed, concluding that the closed-door solicitation wasn’t severe enough to create a hostile environment. (San Antonio v. Cancel, No. 07-07-0285, Court of Appeals of Texas, 2008)

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