DISCRIMINATION AND EMPLOYMENT LAWS 5
Discriminationand Employment Laws
SexualHarassment Issues Presented In Scenario
Accordingto the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it is wrongfor an organization to have a policy that encourages harassment(Avery& Labor Law Group, 2010).The commission argues that harassment in an organization may includerequest for sexual favors, offensive remarks concerning anindividual’s sex, physical or verbal harassment that are sex innature, or even unwelcome sexual favors (John et al., 2007). Thesekinds of harassment result in a hostile working environment.
Accordingto the scenario presented, one of the issues presented is that themale co-workers in the C.H. Robinson Company based in Birminghamreferred to individuals in the workplace using abusive words such as“bitch”, “cunt”, and “whore” among others. For instance,Reeves’ co-worker called one woman “cunt” when having aconversation through the phone while Reeves’ supervisor used theterm “bitch” in referring to his female colleagues. Another issuepresented in the case is that almost daily, the co-workers of Reevesused to tune the office radio to a crude morning show, which featuredregular discussions concerning women anatomy, conversations regardingthe breasts of women, and how the nipples of women harden among otherfeatured programs. Also, at one instance, Darryl Harris, a co-workerof Reeves, displayed a pornographic image of a fully naked womanhaving her legs spread and exposing her vagina on the screen of hiscomputer. These constituted sexual harassment issues in the company’sbranch since this seemed like a generally accepted policy.
Analysisof Elements of the Case
Oneof the elements to the case is the applicable defenses. When Reevespresented her case to the residential court, she argued that she hadbeen subjected to a hostile working environment, a case that wasagainst the provisions of the Title VII. This was the right thingfor Reeves to do since the working environment in the company wasmale-dominated and hostile for women to work in. For instance, thedisplay of picture of a naked woman on the screen of a computer by amale workmate and male workers using abusive words such as “bitch”to refer to women. Therefore, it was justified to go for thisapplication defense so as to drive sanity to the company’sdiscriminative policy.
Asecond element of the case is the basis for the court’s ruling.Upon being presented with the sexual harassment issues in thecompany, the district court held that the offensive conduct was notbased on the motivation of Reeves’ gender since the derogatorylanguage at the workplace was not directed to her in particular. Thedistrict court’s decision was not up to the expectations sincethere was a violation of the Title VII. Alternatively, upon reviewingthe case, the court of appeal reversed the ruling made by thedistrict court. This was a justified move since it could be arguedthat there was a violation of Title VII.
Incase the case involved an independent contractor versus an employee,the independent contractor could be held liable of harassing theemployee sexually since through using the derogatory language thatthe co-workers in the company used and the display of a naked woman’spicture by the independent contractor would be sexually suggestive(Secunda& Hirsch, 2010).Whether it is an independent contractor or not, the liability forsexual harassment would still apply (John et al., 2007). Therefore,in this case, the independent contractor would still be held liable.
Avery,D., & Labor Law Group (U.S.). (2010). Employmentdiscrimination law: Cases and materials on equality in the workplace.St. Paul, Minn.: Thomson/West.
John,H. & Neal, T.F. (2007). EmployerLiability for Non-Employee Sexual Harassment. Journalof the International Academy for Case Studies,Vol. 13 (6).
Secunda,P. M., & Hirsch, J. M. (2010). Masteringemployment discrimination law.Durham, N.C: Carolina Academic Press.