Teresa’s discrimination as manager of an equipment rental

Teresa’s discrimination as manager of an equipment rental
Facts: Teresa worked as a manager at an equipment rental company, from April 1985 until October 1987. Charles was president. Throughout Teresa’s time at the company, Charles often insulted her because of her gender and made her the target of unwanted sexual innuendoes. Charles told Teresa on several occasions, in the presence of other employees, “You’re a woman, what do you know” and “We need a man as the rental manager”; at least once, he told her she was a “a dumb ass woman.” Again in front of others, he suggested that the two of them “go to the Holiday Inn to negotiate Teresa’s raise.” Charles occasionally asked Teresa and other female employees to get coins from his front pants pocket. He threw objects on the ground in front of Teresa and other women and asked them to pick the objects up. He made several innuendoes about Teresa and other women’s clothing.

In mid-August 1987, Teresa complained to Charles about his conduct. Charles said he was surprised that Teresa was offended, claimed he was only joking, and apologized. He also promised he would stop, and based on this assurance, Harris stayed on the job. But in early September, Charles began anew: While Teresa was arranging a deal with one of the company’s customers, he asked her, again in front of other employees, “What did you do, promise the guy some[sex] Saturday night?” On October 1, Teresa collected her paycheck and quit.

Teresa then sued Forklift, claiming that Charles’ conduct had created an abusive work environment for her because of her gender.

Discussion: Do you think Teresa should recover damages from the company? Why or Why not? What law did the company violate if any? What would position would you take within your company to insure that all employees have a comfortable working environment? Other thoughts on the Case?

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