In the case of the Court, a female employee sued her employer stating sexual harassment based on a hostile work environment. She also alleged that she had been constructively discharged.
employee claimed that there had been a series of sexual harassment incidents involving numerous colleagues that she had not been reported to the employer. For example, one co-worker said the employee that he wanted to have sex with his daughter; colleagues referred to an employee in derogatory terms; another colleague hugged employee, grabbed the breast, said it was business, and jumped on top of her.
The court held that the employee has reported only one of these events to the management. Based on this one report, the Court concluded that there was insufficient evidence to bring any serious and long-term actions needed to prove a hostile work environment claim.
The court also noted that the employer took prompt and effective remedial action when it learned of the allegations employee. The court found that the employee had not shown that the employer should have known about the sexual harassment incident that she had not reported to management. Constructive discharge the employee’s claim was also rejected, because the employee was with the data that the employer intended to force the employee to quit.
This case illustrates the point that with regard to sexual harassment between colleagues, who harassed the employee must show that the employer knew or should have known about sexual harassment behavior. However, the employer can not ignore such conduct, the employer, at least have some knowledge of the offending behavior before it will be held liable. If the employer receives the report and acts quickly to deal with the matter according to the established sexual harassment policy, the employer may avoid liability.