The Denney Juvenile Justice Center is in hot water after three female employees filed a claim alleging they were sexually harassed in the workplace. According to one news report, the trio of workers state that several levels of employees—from management to coworkers—have participated in inappropriate behavior during the women’s extensive tenure with the youth center. The claimant’s attorney says that the plaintiffs also experienced retaliation for attempting to report the harassment to management.
Proving Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Litigating Employment Discrimination Cases explains that in cases involving sexual harassment that created a hostile work environment, claimants and their attorneys are responsible for proving that the behavior exhibited in the workplace fulfills four factors outlined in Title VII:
- It occurred because of the plaintiff’s sex
- It was unwelcome
- The behavior was severe or prevalent
- It is imputable to the employer
Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Law is Not Perfect
The threshold for severe and pervasive discriminatory behavior tends to fall within the gray area of law; courts oftentimes find it difficult to determine the amount and type of discriminatory statements and/or advances that constitute a hostile work environment.
The Legal Checklist for Inappropriate Conduct
When making a claim that his or her employer cultivated a hostile workplace, a claimant must explain the nature of the discrimination. The harassment can fall into any of the following categories.
- Gender-based discrimination
- Sexual interest and/or behavior
- A sexually charged work atmosphere
Plaintiffs cannot make a case for sexual harassment if their employer’s behavior stemmed from a personality clash rather than discrimination, as demonstrated by cases like Zimmerman v. Cook County Sheriff’s Dept.
The Experts on Sexual Harassment Litigation
With so many elements and such a lengthy history of case law, sexual harassment litigation can seem confusing and nuanced. However, it is essential for attorneys to understand the basis for sexual harassment litigation so they can deliver unsurpassed legal counsel for claimants interested in pursuing sexual harassment suits. Plaintiffs such as the three coworkers of the Denney Juvenile Justice Center deserve the best representation.
Litigating Employment Discrimination Cases is packed with pattern arguments supported by thousands of recent cases with parentheticals and pinpoint citations, pleadings, motions, discovery documents, deposition outlines, pitfalls to avoid, and, most importantly, practice-proven tactics and techniques. Some of the areas covered include:
- Defending employer’s efforts to interview the plaintiff.
- Controlling ancillary proceedings.
- Summary judgment oriented deposition tips for employers.
- Common defense motions in limine, with extensive case authorities on stray remarks and me-too evidence.
- Strategies and citations for opposing these defense motions.