Case Study

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See Chapter 3 - Equal Employment Opportunity and Human Resources Management: Case Study 2: Misplaced Affections: Discharge for Sexual Harassment

Peter Lewiston was terminated on July 15, 2008, by the governing board of the Pine Circle Unified School District (PCUSD) for violation of the district's sexual harassment policy. Prior to Lewiston's termination he was a senior maintenance employee with an above-average work record who had worked for the PCUSD for eleven years. He had been a widower since 2003 and was described by his coworkers as a friendly, outgoing, but lonely individual. Beverly Gilbury was a fifth-grade teacher working in the district's Advanced Learning Program. She was twenty-eight years old and married and had worked for PCUSD for six years. At the time of the incidents, Lewiston and Gilbury both worked at the Simpson Elementary School, where their relationship was described as “cooperative.” The following sequence of events was reported separately by Lewiston and Gilbury during the district's investigation of this sexual harassment case.

Gilbury reported that her relationship with Lewiston began to change during the last month of the 2007–2008 school year. She believed that Lewiston was paying her more attention and that his behavior was “out of the ordinary” and “sometimes weird.” He began spending more time in her classroom talking with the children and with her. At the time she did not say anything to Lewiston because “I didn't want to hurt his feelings since he is a nice, lonely, older man.” However, on May 25, when Lewiston told Gilbury that he was “very fond” of her and that she had “very beautiful eyes,” she replied, “Remember, Peter, we're just friends.” For the remainder of the school year, there was little contact between them; however, when they did see each other, Lewiston seemed “overly friendly” to her.

June 7, 2008. On the first day of summer school, Gilbury returned to school to find a dozen roses and a card from...
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