A Lowe’s Home Center employee discussed her sexual harassment informally with a department manager in the store break room. Whether the employee acted reasonably and followed Lowe’s sexual harassment policy is a question for the jury.
The employer learned that one of its employees was pregnant and included her in a two employee layoff. The Eighth Circuit found that she could not rebut the employer’s assertion that she was the least valuable employee in her department based on seniority, productivity, project load and flexibility. Case dismissed.
A sexual harassment class-action suit against TWA brought by the EEOC (www.eeoc.gov) and three plaintiff-intervenors represented by Lipman & Plesur, LLP (www.lipmanplesur.com) settled for $2.6 million, the largest settlement obtained by the New York District Office of the EEOC. “The ‘stick your head in the sand’ approach to dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace proved very costly in this case” said Lipman. “Even after settlement papers were signed, a supervisor told one of our clients still employed by TWA, that he doesn’t like women with long hair, especially when they are ‘on top.'” Lipman said.
Such crude comments have been rampant at TWA for years and the company has not taken action to stop it, according to the Complaints filed by Lipman & Plesur, LLP and the EEOC. Robert Lipman, who is also President of Interactive Employment Training, Inc.(www.hrtrain.com) and Editor of EEO News (www.eeonews.com), observes that “it is unbelievable that a company would choose to let sexual harassment fester in the workplace, inviting huge morale and other work-related problems as well as a class-action lawsuit, when such conduct can be easily prevented through appropriate discriminatory harassment prevention training.” “A relatively small investment in a discriminatory harassment prevention training course could have prevented this whole case” Lipman said.
Interactive Employment Training, Inc’s recently launched online discriminatory harassment prevention program developed in conjunction with AIG, is currently in use at many organizations, including AIG, Guiness UDV and the United States Department of Justice. Such a course sensitizes workers about respect and creates a culture that does not tolerate discriminatory harassment. “As illustrated by the TWA case, organizations that fail to take appropriate steps to stop sexual and discriminatory harassment in the workplace pay the price. More organizations will take the cost effective route to discriminatory harassment prevention that is now provided by engaging, interactive training over the Internet. Companies have a choice: ignore the problem, which will lead to poor morale and increased turnover as well as costly lawsuits, or take measures to prevent discriminatory harassment in the workplace. This choice is a no brainer and the Internet provides the best forum to sensitize employees to the issue of discriminatory harassment,” Lipman said.
“Although it might not seem fair to Plaintiff that she should be penalized for being in bed with her boss, the Court will not sit as a super-personnel department, reviewing the wisdom of each of Defendant’s business decisions.”