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
He grabbed her hips at a
luncheon and asked repeatedly, “What is
the wildest thing you have done?”
Sexual Harassment Jury Awards
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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,
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
EEOC Definition of Sexual
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
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
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
Family Circle
Women’s Day
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
Verbal Harassment
Derogatory or vulgar comments regarding a
person’s gender
Sexually vulgar language
Remarks about a person’s physical anatomy or
Threats of physical harm
Distribution of written or graphic sexual
Verbal Harassment Examples
Derogatory or vulgar comments regarding a
person’s gender
Pretty Boy
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
She repeatedly complained to
management and nothing was done. She was
terminated when she complained to the new
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:
encouragement of, actions that could be
perceived as sexual harassment;
reporting acts of harassment to a supervisor,
encouraging any employee, who confides that
he/she is being harassed, to report those acts to a
Sexual Harassment Proactive Steps
Each supervisor is responsible for taking
proactive steps to prevent sexual harassment
from occurring.
These responsibilities
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
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
Taking immediate action to limit the work
contact between two employees when there has
been a complaint of harassment, pending