During the same time period another seventeen-year old female submitted an online application for a job with the employer. She scored a four out of five on the test used for online applicants, and the company distributed her application to the general manager who obtained the female’s cell phone number from her application and proceeded to text her the following from the company account:
“Manager: Hi how badly do you need a job…Would you sleep with the manager to get the job? Bang my brains out the job is yours.”
Thereafter, she and her boyfriend went to the jobsite to complain and subsequently filed an incident report with the local Police Department.
A company had a general manager, who was responsible for reviewing applications, hiring, training, scheduling, and terminating employees. The company was accepting applications for employee and assistant manager positions and was interviewing applicants.
A seventeen-year-old female submitted an in-person application for an available position. The manager interviewed her and during the interview, he told her that he wanted to hire someone from his old high school, where she attended, and he intended to offer her the job and told her that he would get back to her. Following the interview, the female received a sexually-explicit text from the manager, which she understood as a request that she have sex with him in exchange for the job. She returned to the jobsite to complain and was not hired.
Manager offering job in exchange for sex? Is that enough to create liability for the employer?
The company first heard about the incident from a news report and conducted an internal investigation. After the investigation, the company fired the manager for “requesting or demanding sexual favor, accompanied by implied or overt promise of preferential treatment or threats.”
The company did not hire the second female applicant. Both applicants filed EEOC charges of discrimination alleging sexual harassment and sex discrimination. After finding cause to believe that discrimination took place, the EEOC sued the company on behalf of both female applicants for sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Draper Development LLC, United States District Court, N.D. New York. No. 1:15-cv-877 (GLS/TWD).
After the company spent a lot of money and two- and one-half years litigating this lawsuit, it decided to settle the lawsuit by paying $80,000 to the two females; revise its policy prohibiting sexual harassment; conduct anti-harassment training for managers and employees; post a public notice about the settlement; and report all sexual harassment complaints to the EEOC.
It is important to realize that the non-monetary provisions of the settlement are significant and designed to ensure such behavior never occurs again with this employer.
Conditioning hiring in exchange for sexual favors, known as quid-pro-quo sexual harassment, is exactly the type of behavior that has made the deserved momentum around #MeToo continue to grow stronger. Florida employers should be aware that the EEOC will not tolerate sexual harassment of this kind in the workplace. Preventing harassment through systemic enforcement and targeted outreach is a national priority identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
If you have not had harassment training in the last year, our law firm can provide such live training tailored to your specific workplace. If you desire such training, please email the law Office of David Miklas or call us at 1-772-465-5111.
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