Dig into harassment case to learn what really happened

There’s aren’t many ways for an employer to defend against allegations that a supervisor sexually harassed a subordinate. But a careful investigation may uncover evidence that the relationship was wholly consensual, which may help.

Recent case: Christina and her boss had a sexual relationship that began when they sent each other suggestive emails using the company email system.

As the affair became more intense, they switched to newly created private Gmail accounts. For months, they exchanged explicit emails, including a large number that Christina initiated, proclaiming her love and desire to fulfill a variety of sexual fantasies.

Then Christina’s fiancé found out about the affair and called both the employer and the supervisor’s wife. An investigation followed and the supervisor was terminated. Christina was not, but never showed up for work again.

However, she did sue, alleging sexual harassment.

The employer asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing that Christina could not show that the harassment was unwelcome. It offered the emails as proof.

The court agreed and dismissed Christina’s lawsuit. (Holmes v. North Texas Health Care Laundry Cooperative Association, ND TX, 2018)