Sexual Harassment City Of Arlington Human Resources Department Sexual Harassment Jury Awards A secretary worked for a law firm for 3 months. During one of those 3 months, she worked for an attorney who poured M&M’s into her blouse breast pocket, grabbed her and asked which breast was bigger. He grabbed her hips at a luncheon and asked repeatedly, “What is the wildest thing you have done?” Sexual Harassment Jury Awards The jury awarded $50,000 in compensatory damages, but awarded $3.5 million in punitive damages. $225,000 in punitive damages was awarded against the harassing attorney personally. Attorneys’ fees in the case were over $1.8 million. Weeks v. Baker and McKenzie Sexual Harassment Jury Awards A jury awarded damages of $35,000 and punitive damages of $50 million against Wal-Mart when a female employee was subjected to repeated jokes and sexual comments. The award was reduced to $5 million and the case was appealed. Sexual Harassment Jury Awards On appeal, the jury award was reduced to $35,000 actual damages, $1 back pay and $350,000 in punitive damages. Several women complained about the supervisor’s conduct and management ignored the complaint. Kimzey v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Sexual Harassment Jury Awards A male employee claimed his female supervisor sexually harassed him on a daily basis by expressing her sexual interest in him, kissing and embracing him and fondling his genitals. She vehemently denied the charges and stated that he sexually harassed her. Still…. Sexual Harassment Jury Awards The jury believed him and awarded him $82,000 for economic loss, $375,000 for emotional distress, and $550,000 in punitive damages. The harassing supervisor was ordered to pay $10,000 personally to the employee. The case will be appealed. Gutierrez v. California Acrylic Industries d/b/a Cal-Spas Fire Department Related Cases Ms. Clark was a Firefighter, who was sexually harassed by Asst. Fire Chief Jacobs, her supervisor. He would request that she give him hugs, and he would sing songs with sexually explicit lyrics to her. She also stated that he rubbed his hands on her back and legs on several occasions, and on one occasion, he placed his hand under her shirt. She resigned and sued, after reporting the harassment to the Human Resources Department. The Department conducted an investigation of her claims. Jacobs, the alleged harasser, was transferred to another job away from Clark, the alleged victim. Jacobs was eventually terminated, after another alleged victim filed a complaint. Clark lost her lawsuit because the Department promptly investigated her claims, transferred the harasser, and disciplined him. Clark v. Johnson Controls World Services, Inc. (Georgia) Fire Department Related Cases Ms. Bohen was a dispatcher for the City of East Chicago Fire Department. She awoke one night to find the hands of the Senior Dispatcher pressed against her crotch. During their conversations, the Senior Dispatcher constantly spoke to her in a lewd way, discussing sexual matters and his preferred sexual positions. He rubbed his pelvis against her rear during one incident. Other Fire Dept. members also joined in the behavior, filling the station with filthy talk and descriptions of their sexual fantasies concerning her. One Fire Captain informed her that a forcible rape in the bushes would improve her disposition. The other members of the department implied that she was a lesbian because she disagreed with their constant invitations to engage in deviate sexual conduct. She sued and won one of her claims on appeal. Her case was sent back down to a lower court for a determination of damages. Bohen v. City of East Chicago, (Illinois) Fire Department Related Cases Ms. Ward was a firefighter who was subject to numerous pranks by unknown members of the Fire Department. She was accused of having an affair with another firefighter, she received threatening letters at home, and she received a dead rat in her home mailbox. At the station, many annoying pranks were played on her. Water and eggs were placed in her fire boots and gloves. Her name was removed from the department sign in book with “white-out.” Her radio was taken and then returned to her two days later with the words, “ha, ha” written on it. She reported the harassment and fire management attempted to investigate the incidents. Eventually, management brought in the Police to investigate. Still, no one could discover who was the prankster. She sued and lost the case because fire management did all it could to stop the harassment. It investigated the situation, made numerous attempts to catch the prankster, and warned everyone that such harassing conduct would not be tolerated. Ward v. City of Streetsboro, (Ohio) Male on Male Sexual Harassment Mr. Oncale was an employee on an offshore oil rig. There were no women on the rig, only men. Mr. Oncale was subject to sex-related, humiliating acts by the other men in his crew, including threatened rape. In the shower, some of the men tried to shove a bar of soap into his rear end. He quit because he was afraid that he would be raped. He sued the harassers personally and the company. He reported the conduct to management but management did nothing. The first two courts threw out his case because he was a man suing for the acts of other men. The United State Supreme Court said that he could sue for the sexual harassment of other men, and they sent the case back to the lower court for a jury trial. The case was later settled for an undisclosed amount. Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc. Male on Male Sexual Harassment Mr. Gonzales was repeated teased by his supervisor, who made sexual suggestive remarks and touched his back, groin and buttocks. In addition, the supervisor lifted up Mr. Gonzales from behind, groped him and simulated a sex act with him. There was no indication that either Mr. Gonzales or his supervisor were homosexuals. Mr. Gonzales reported the behavior to management several times. Although the supervisor tried to apologize, Mr. Gonzales still had to work with him because the supervisor was not transferred. Mr. Gonzales tried to commit suicide, allegedly because of his supervisor’s conduct. He was later discharged from the company. He sued, and an El Paso jury awarded: $730,000 in compensatory damages, and $87,520 in back pay on the sexual harassment claim. On a claim for intention infliction of emotional distress, he won $1.5 million in actual damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The total award was $7.3 million. The case will be appealed. Gonzales v. Dillard Department Stores (Texas) A National Epidemic 42% of federal female workers reported being sexually harassed within a 2 year period. (Merit Systems Protection Bd, 1998) One-half or more of working women can expect to be sexually harassed during their careers. (National Council for Research on Women, 1991) Of high level female public administrators in five states, including Texas: 6-16% experienced unwelcome sexual advances 11-24% experienced requests for sexual favors 14-36% experienced offensive physical contact 33-60% experienced some offensive verbal behavior “Sexual Harassment in the States” in Women and Men of the States: Public Administrators at the State Level, 1992 52% of companies in the American Management Association reported one or more allegations of sexual harassment within the past five years. (American Management Association, 1991) The number of EEO complaints alleging sexual harassment nearly doubled from 1992 to 1993, rising from 6,127 complaints to 11,098. (Equal Employment Opportunities Commission) EEOC Definition of Sexual Harassment Unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: Submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of an individual’s continued employment, promotion, or other condition of employment. This can occur by clearly stated or implied words or actions. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting an individual employee. Such conduct is intended to interfere or result in interference with an employee’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment for an employee. Court Decisions In Harris v. Forklift Systems, Inc., the Supreme Court introduced a four factor “totality of circumstances” analysis in determining whether an environment is hostile or abusive: Frequency of discriminatory conduct Severity of conduct Whether the conduct is physically threatening or humiliating or a mere offensive utterance, and Whether the conduct unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance Prohibited Items in the Workplace Nude pictures Sexually-oriented magazines or posters Other words or pictures of a sexually suggestive nature Other Prohibited Items Playboy/Penthouse Centerfolds Snap-On Tool Calendars Harley Davidson Calendars Firefighter Calendars (male and female) Pin-up photos These types of calendars have been used as evidence in court cases. (This is not all the items prohibited, just some examples.) Sexually-oriented Material Playboy Playgirl Hustler Cosmo Family Circle Redbook Women’s Day People Alternative Lifestyle Magazines Other words or pictures of a sexually suggestive nature. Items downloaded from the internet. Cartoons, graffiti, derogatory posters, drawings, etc. Any of the above can create a hostile work environment. Verbal Harassment Derogatory or vulgar comments regarding a person’s gender Sexually vulgar language Remarks about a person’s physical anatomy or characteristics Threats of physical harm Distribution of written or graphic sexual materials Verbal Harassment Examples Derogatory or vulgar comments regarding a person’s gender Whore Slut Bitch Sweetie Honey Prick Pretty Boy Dickhead Limp-wristed Ridicule in front of others Sexual nicknames Sexually vulgar language Remarks - Physical Anatomy “She’s really stacked” “She’s healthy” “You’re looking fine” “You look good in short skirts” Comments about breast, butts, legs, etc. Physical Harassment Prohibitions Touching another suggestive way person in a sexually Touching another so as to invade his/her personal space Intentional touching another’s breast, genital areas, or derrieres Physical contact, such as pushing or threats to take such action Impeding one’s movement Pushing, shoving, or threatening such action Touching sexually (usually male on female) Stroking one’s hair Stroking one’s shoulders/neck Rubbing one’s arm, leg, back, etc. Physical Harassment More often male on male “I’ll take you out back and whip your ass” “I’ll get your mind right” “I’ll see you after shift” “I’ll take care of you later” “I’ll stump break you” Other Types of Physical Harassment These may include, but are not limited to: Punching, pushing, etc. Brushing against another’s body Subtle pressure for sexual favors for employment, pay, promotion or other job benefits Granting preferential treatment to employees in return for sexual favors Other Types of Sexual Harassment Sexual innuendoes Sexual bragging Jokes of a sexual nature Sexual propositions Sexually suggestive cartoons Suggestive or insulting sounds Leering, whistling, or obscene gestures Case Examples Male employee ridiculed victim in front of others. Supervisor laughed at vulgarities, sexual remarks. Posted “pin-ups” Created sexual nicknames Supervisor complimented employee on anatomy. Supervisor made comments about a subordinate’s breast, told her to “loosen up”. Male employee subjected to sex-related comments, threats of rape, etc. Supervisor told employee that he must go on a date or clean the toilets. Sexual Harassment Policy No employee shall engage in sexual harassment of any employee, applicant, or any other individual. Sexual harassment includes: – Sexual favors – Request for sexual favors, or – Other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: Sexual Harassment Policy – Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting an individual employee. – Such conduct is intended to interfere or result in interference with an employee’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment for an employee. Sexual Harassment Policy – Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment or is prejudicial to good order or discipline, whether or not it is directly linked to the granting or denial of an economic benefit; or... Sexual Harassment Policy – Any person in a supervisory position uses or condones implicit or explicit sexual behavior to control, influence, or affect an individual’s employment. – An employee makes verbal comments, gestures, or physical contact of a sexual nature. Sexual Harassment Policy – Not defined by “unwelcomeness” – Does not require “pervasiveness” Other Possible Policy Violations – Unbecoming conduct – Horseplay – Discourteous treatment of others City Complaint Procedure – File complaint in writing with HR Director – HR Director or designee will meet with employee within 10 working days – HR will investigate complaint and render a decision in 30 working days – If employee not satisfied, may appeal to City Manager for final disposition What to Do if You Are a Witness or Victim – Confront the harasser – Talk to your supervisor – Contact other sources for help What to Do if You Are a Witness or Victim AT ANY TIME, YOU MAY REPORT HARASSING BEHAVIOR TO YOUR SUPERVISOR, ANYONE IN FIRE MANAGEMENT OR THE HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT. Duties of Supervisors – Make sure everyone knows the City’s policy – Treat every incident seriously – Follow the City’s guidelines Duties of Supervisors – Inform all parties what actions will be taken – Follow up and be alert – Keep it confidential – Inform your assistant chief Points to Remember – Never ignore sexual harassment – Don’t hesitate to seek help. – Weigh your options carefully Official Oppression An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor. Any individual adjudged guilty of a Class A misdemeanor may be punished by: A fine not to exceed $4,000.00 Confinement in a jail for a term not to exceed one year Both a fine and confinement Official Oppression In this section, “sexual harassment” means unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, submission to which is made a term or condition of a person’s exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, either explicitly or implicitly. Official Oppression A public servant acting under color of his office or employment commits an offense if he: Intentionally subjects another to sexual harassment. For purposes of this section, a public servant acts under color of his office or employment if he acts or purports to act in an official capacity or takes advantage of such actual or purported capacity. Fired Officer Gets Probation for Harassment He pleaded guilty to official oppression in case involving 911 operator by Steve Scott, Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News September 29, 1995 A fired Dallas police sergeant was sentenced to two years of probation Thursday for sexually harassing a 911 operator under his supervision last year. David Ray Beane, 38, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of official oppression. No conviction will appear on his record if he successfully completes the deferred adjudication probation. Visiting County Criminal Court Judge Cas Dunlap also fined Mr. Beane $2,000. Authorities accused Mr. Beane of misusing his authority as a police officer by sexually harassing the woman, a civilian Police Department employee, between February and April last year. Investigators with the Police Department’s public integrity section filed the charges against Mr. Beane last fall. The woman testified Thursday that Mr. Beane had harassed her by brushing against her in a hallway, trying to kiss her and telling he would “teach her things that would drive a woman wild.” Prosecutors had sought regular probation, in which a conviction would have appeared on Mr. Beane’s record. His attorney, Robert Cady, argued that a conviction would severely hamper his client’s chances of getting a new job to support his wife and two children. Judge Dunlap said he also considered the effect of Mr. Beane’s behavior on the woman he harassed. “I thought it was important that nothing was brought out to indicate that she had been traumatized to the extent that it had any lasting effect,” he said, noting that the woman had not felt the need to leave work. Police said last year that they were investigating complaints that Mr. Beane had harassed two other employees, but prosecutors presented no evidence of other victims Thursday. Police Chief Ben Click fired Mr. Beane last October, a day after Dallas County grand jurors returned an indictment. “The chief at the time felt it was necessary to take this action to protect the integrity of the department and to send a message that this type of behavior, by a supervisor toward a subordinate employee, would not be tolerated,” said Sgt. Jim Chandler, a police spokesman. Mr. Beane had been a Dallas officer for 15 years and had received six commendations. Plaintiff was a personnel recruiter for Waffle House. Three executives of the company called her “Little Miss Big Tits” and “our Dolly Parton.” One employee stuck a Polaroid camera in between her legs and took a picture of her crotch. She repeatedly complained to management and nothing was done. She was terminated when she complained to the new vice-president. A jury from the Northern District of Texas (our district) awarded her $687,000 in actual damages and $7.4 million in punitive damages for the sexual harassment, termination, and tortious interference with a new business she tried to start after her termination. The case will be appealed. Scribner v. Waffle House Sexual Harassment Prevention Each employee in the City is responsible for assisting in the prevention of sexual harassment through the following acts: Refraining from participating in, or encouragement of, actions that could be perceived as sexual harassment; reporting acts of harassment to a supervisor, and encouraging any employee, who confides that he/she is being harassed, to report those acts to a supervisor. Sexual Harassment Proactive Steps Each supervisor is responsible for taking proactive steps to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. These responsibilities include: Monitoring the unit work environment on a daily basis for signs that harassment may be occurring; Counseling all employees on the types of behavior prohibited, and the City’s procedures for reporting and resolving complaints of harassment. Stopping any observed acts that may be considered harassment, and taking appropriate steps to intervene, whether on not the involved employees are within his/her line of supervision. Taking immediate action to limit the work contact between two employees when there has been a complaint of harassment, pending investigation.