Inter office affairs have several serious consequences and may result in claims of harassment or discrimination. For example, sexual harassment claims may arise where one party feels pressure to become involved in a relationship in order to maintain his or her job. A recent case evaluated the situation where a female prison employee was engaged in an affair with a male companion and she alleged that she was treated more harshly when the affair was discovered than the male.
If you have questions about sexual harassment or sex discrimination, or believe that you have been subjected to any form of workplace harassment, consulting with an Atlanta sexual harassment lawyer is critical to determine your next steps.
In the recent case, Orton-Bell v. Indiana, a woman alleged sexual discrimination after she was fired for having an affair with a co-worker. Here although the female employee was fired, the male retained his work privileges. In fact, as the result of being fired she was no longer eligible for employment with the Department of Corrections in any capacity. However the male was permitted to resign, retain his pension and continue working for the prison as a contractor.
The Department of Corrections asserted that even though the male was treated
more leniently, this could be explained by the fact that he had worked
there for 25 years, however, it also meant that he “should know
better” than to carry on an affair.
Further, in addition to being terminated she was also subjected to constant ogling and sexual comments. These included comments by male employees who watched as female employees underwent their daily pat-downs and made sexual comments. The woman also asserted that some of the night-shift employees were having sex on her desk. However, the court determined that these actions did not support her harassment claim.
Based on these facts, the court determined that she could maintain her claim for sex discrimination and harassment pursuant to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
For more information or if you believe that you have been the subject of sexual discrimination at work, please contact the experienced Georgia sex harassment lawyers at the Buckley Law Firm for an immediate case evaluation.