Tuesday, July 19, 2005

It's all fun and games til you lose the lawsuit

This does not bode well for American Apparel head-honcho Dov Charney.

Former employees of a Chowchilla correctional facility filed a sexual harrassment claim because the warden had engaged in consensual relationships with subordinate employees. The women who filed suit were not involved in affairs with the warden, but argued that his relationships with staff created a hostile work environment for the rest of the staff. A lower court ruled against the women because they were not treated any worse than male employees on staff, but the California Supreme Court
unanimoulsy overturned the decision

An isolated instance of favoritism would not ordinarily constitute sexual harassment, Chief Justice Ronald M. George wrote in the unanimous decision.

But when it is so widespread that "the demeaning message is conveyed to female employees that they are viewed by management as 'sexual playthings' or that the way required for women to get ahead in the workplace is by engaging in sexual conduct," it constitutes harassment, he wrote.

Truthfully, the male employees could have joined the lawsuit as well as the atmosphere in the work place can be charged when someone in a management postion is romantically/sexually involved with a subordinate employee such that employees are held to different standards, etc.
Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for the Attorney General's office, said the decision is a warning to business owners.

"It tells employers that having an anti-nepotism policy is not enough. You need to do more to make sure that you have a hostility-free work environment even when employees are having consensual sexual relationships," Barankin said.


Sphere: Related Content

No comments: