Liability in Workplace

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1. Teddy's Supplies' CEO has asked you to advise him on the facts of the case, and your opinion of their potential liability.  He wants to settle the case. Write a memo to him which states your view of whether the company is exposed to liability on all issues you feel are in play. Include in your memo any laws which apply and any precedential cases either for or against Teddy's case which impact liability. Include in the memo your suggested "offer of settlement" to Virginia. Back up your offer using your analysis of the case against Teddy's

Dear Mr. Moore,

After an independent study and review of this case, it is my judgment that Teddy's Supplies is indeed liable for workplace and sexual harassment against Virginia Pollard. A careful review of the case also indicates that the plaintiff, Ms. Pollard, was placed in a "hostile" environment under the supervision of Steve King. While it is not illegal for one woman to work among a group of men, careful judgment should be used by the employer in determining if the work environment is suitable for males and females. As a general rule, it is not good practice to have one female working with all male colleagues.

First of all, I will define these three types of sexual harassment as stated by: http://www.strategichr.com/shrsweb2/harassment_01.shtml

a) “Workplace harassment is any unwelcome or unwanted conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or an aversion toward another person on the basis of any characteristic protected by law, which includes an individual's race, color, gender, ethnic or national origin, age, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other personal characteristic protected by law. A conduct is unwelcome if the employee did not solicit, instigate or provoke it, and the employee regarded the conduct as undesirable or offensive”.

Pollard was constantly being harassed by her six male colleagues as she was the victim of pranks perpetrated by them that ranged from taping her desk drawers shut, locking her out of the guard shack and therefore hindering her from performing her job due to the fact she was responsible for watching the warehouse inventory, filling the guard shack with trash, and putting her into unnecessary risk of harm by backing a forklift up to the guard shack door and making it backfire into her ear. Ms. Pollard could have sustained serious injuries if the forklift driver had accidentally backed through the guard shack and as a result struck her. Standard forklifts weigh three tons and could easily run through the guard shack. Most forklifts run off of propane or butane and emit strong fumes when running. The fumes from the forklift after backfiring could cause physical damage to someone with asthma and sinus problems. The backfiring of the exhaust is rather loud, and multiple occurrences instigated by the forklift driver of trapping Pollard in the guard shack to hear the blast in a small room could cause irreparable damage to Pollard’s eardrums.

b) “Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that involves unwanted or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. This applies to harassment by a person against another person of the opposite sex as well as harassment by a person against another person of the same sex. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act defines sexual harassment as “harassment based on sex or of a sexual nature; gender harassment and harassment based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions,” and many forms of offensive behavior.”

In one particular incident, Ms. Pollard was taunted by her coworkers and one of Teddy’s drivers. The driver was sitting in her chair, and she asked him to get up. When he refused, she tried to forcibly push him out of the chair; and as she was doing this he grabbed her, turned her over his knee, and then spanked her. This is a blatant form of sexual harassment due to the fact that Ms. Pollard in no way...
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