Case review #1: Analysis of the Supreme Court of the United States case of Faragher V. City of Boca Raton
After quitting her job as a lifeguard, Beth Ann Faragher brought up a case against the City of Boca Raton because her immediate supervisors, Bill Terry and David Silverman, had created a “sexually hostile atmosphere” at work. Both men would repeatedly subject Faragher and other female lifeguards to “uninvited and offensive touching” accompanied by vulgar comments. While still employed, Faragher complained to Robert Gordon, another supervisor, who failed to report it to City officials. The District Court held the City liable for the harassment carried by its supervisory employees, arguing that Terry and Silverman were acting as the City's “agents” when they committed the harassing acts. The Court of Appeals believed that Terry and Silverman’s relationship with the City did not enable the harassment and therefore could not be credited to the City. In addition, the Court of Appeals counter-argued that the City could not be held liable for failing to prevent their actions. In the end, the District Courts favored Faragher. I completely agree with the outcome of the case. Sexual harassment impacts negatively on one’s work performance and advancement opportunities.
This case demonstrates the importance of Human Resource Management. Employers, managers and supervisors must obtain proper training in employee rights and fair treatment at work to avoid lawsuits such as this one. An employer is held responsible for the actions of its supervisors therefore adequate training on acceptable and unacceptable behaviors is imperative. Managers ought to set an open door policy which would enable employees to discuss any trouble he or she may be facing in the workplace. This would assure that situations such as Faragher’s be settled within the workplace and not in court.
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