Sexual harassment is one of the most frequent discrimination claims. However, what actions may be considered harassing behavior vary. The courts are constantly struggling to define what sexual harassment is and what it is not, and sometimes the results can be quite confusing–the devil is in the details. What is clear, though, is that, whether you’re a man or a woman, if you are subjected to a steady stream of unwelcome and offensive conduct that is based on your sex, you complain about the harassment to your employer, but your employer does nothing about it, you probably have a strong claim of sexual harassment.
If you believe that you may have been subjected to sexual harassment at work, it’s a good idea to consult with a dedicated Georgia discrimination lawyer right away.
A recent case, McMiller v. Metro, examined the actions of a boss who touched and kissed a municipal worker, and fired her after she rebuffed his advances.
In this sexual harassment lawsuit the boss asked her to remove an ingrown hair from his chin with a pair of tweezers. The worker also cited two prior incidents where the boss kissed her and touched or attempted to touch her. The worker also alleged that after her boss made his “strange request for grooming assistance with his chin hair,” he tried to kiss and touch her, then threatened to fire her.
Other details of harassing behavior included “placing her in a locked position in which he kissed and touched the woman and assured her that he would not let anything happen to her while she was on this job.”
The court determined that even though the worker’s supervisor was the one who actually fired her, a reasonable jury could believe that the worker’s failure to indulge her boss’s sexual advances was the reason why she was fired. As a result, the court allowed the woman’s claim to move forward.
Further, one of the justices who reviewed this case noted that such actions could constitute sexual discrimination in violation of Title VII. Judge Diana E. Murphy stated that the repeated instances of physical harassment the woman allegedly experienced over the course of her five months of employment with Metro depicted more than “offensive” behavior. Instead, it constituted the type of severe, unwelcome and humiliating misconduct prohibited by Title VII … “I submit that being embraced and kissed by a supervisor both before and after vocally objecting to such advances, being subjected to an intimate request for personal body grooming that requires close bodily proximity, and being physically prevented from leaving a room by being held in place and kissed are at least as severe as being patted on the back, brushed up against, and complimented by a supervisor.”
For more information about sexual harassment or sexual discrimination, or if you believe that you have been subjected to harassing or discriminatory behavior at work, please contact the top George sexual harassment attorneys at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.