Case Study- Misplaced Affection: Discharge for Sexual Harassment

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If you were the districts EEOC officer, what would you conclude? What disciplinary actions, if any, would you take? Sexual Harassment Human Resources Managers are charged with determining causation and liability in sexual harassment claims. Sexual Harassment is the “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature” (Bohlander, p. 112). Two types of sexual harassment are quid pro quo and hostile environment. Quid pro quo refers to the negotiation of sexual favors in exchange for employment, promotions, raises, or special treatment. Hostile environments are work atmospheres that hinder an individual’s performance and are created when an employee has been subjected to sexual solicitation, “dirty jokes, vulgar slang, nude pictures, swearing, and personal ridicule and insults” (Bohlander, p. 113). The case of “Misplaced Affection” was an example of hostile environment sexual harassment. Mr. Lewiston’s actions (lingering in Mrs. Gilbury’s classroom, sending flowers, repeated requests for lunch dates, letters that profess his feelings and physical contact at Mrs. Gilbury’s car) created a hostile work environment. Mr. Lewiston was informed that his advances were not welcome as Mrs. Gilbury stated “we’re just friends” and “we need to remain just friends” (Bohlander, p. 135). Mrs. Gilbury filed a sexual harassment injunction against Mr. Lewiston however; Mr. Lewiston filed an appeal of the injunction. The appeal process required Mrs. Gilbury to appear for a hearing and if she “failed to appear, the injunction may be vacated, and the petition dismissed” (Bohlander, p. 136). In the position of EEOC officer, I would consider the evidence (letters, statements, and legal injunction) and would recommend the accused employee, Mr. Lewiston, be terminated for creating a hostile work environment for Mrs. Gilbury.

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