Week Four Learning Team Case Analysis
Faragher v. City of Boca Raton (1998)
In the case Faragher v. City of Boca Raton (1998) the Supreme Court made it clear employers are subject to liability for unlawful harassment by supervisors. The Court determined that an employer is always liable for a supervisor's harassment if it is related to an employment action. The employer can avoid liability by exercising reasonable care to prevent and correct any harassing behavior and if the employee fails to take any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer or to avoid harm (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1999).
Beth Ann Faragher worked for the city of Boca Raton between 1985 and 1990 as a Lifeguard. The organizational hierarchy for the Marine Safety Section of the Parks and Recreation It was during her employment tenure that occurrences of a “sexually hostile atmosphere” as well as “uninvited and offensive touching,” transpired (Supreme Court, 1998). It was two years after her departure from the Parks and Recreation Department that an action was submitted claiming sexual harassment and violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
The court decided not to hold the city liable in this case because the supervisors where acting outside of the scope of their employment and only to further their own personal actions. Even though Faragher and other female employees went to a supervisor to report the violations, he never reported the violations to his superiors, so the city was never aware of any of the violations.
This case and others like it have affected businesses awareness over the years. Companies have taken sexual harassment in the workplace as a zero tolerance policy. In the case that the harassment does not affect the company it does affect employees and the work environment which can affect employee productivity. Problems that can arise from sexual harassment in the workplace are if the person being harassed does not report the violation and continues to let the harassment take place.
In an effort to promote fair and equitable employment Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted. This Act protects individuals from unfair labor practices such as discrimination with regards to race, sex, or religion. In addition to prohibiting employment discrimination Title VII also prohibits harassment and a hostile work environment. It was the violation of Title VII with regards to sexual harassment that facilitated the legal action of Beth Ann Faragher against her employer the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Boca Raton, Florida. Because of the civil rights act, Faragher was able to take the city to court and share what happened to her. Unfortunately all your able to do is take people like this to court and hope for the best. But the city of Boca Raton feels that they did nothing wrong because they're not the ones who did the offense but they are the ones who re wrote the law in that department. The results of this case provided well-defined accountability for an organizations conduct. The court ruled an employer is responsible for the acts of its supervisors, and employers should be encouraged to prevent harassment. It should also be noted the court ruled that employers can reduce liability exposure by exercising reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any harassing behavior and proving the employee did not take advantage of preventive or corrective opportunities that are afforded (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2010).
Beyer, D. A. (2006). Vicarious Liability. Tampa , Flordia: DLA Piper US LLP. Supreme Court. (1998). Legal Information Institute. Retrieved from http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/97-282.ZO.html U..S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2010). Enforcement Guidance on Vicarious Employer Liability for Unlawful Harassment by Supervisors. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/harassment.html The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (1999). Enforcement Guidance on Vicarious Employer Liability for Unlawful Harassment by Supervisors. Retrieved on December 1, 2013 from http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/harassment.html