1. What can an employer do to protect against liability for sexual harassment in situations such as this, where the person responsible for the workplace is the perpetrator?
2. This is a 1991 case. Do you think males who complain of sexual harassment are still less likely to be believed today? Explain. Do you think they are less likely to sue? Explain.
3. Should it make any difference that the request for sex with Showalter did not come directly from Marsella, the person who wanted to engage in the activity with him, but rather came from Smith? Explain.
Employees allege that a series of several sexual incidents occurred on the Techni-Craft premises beginning the summer of 1988 and lasting until June or July of 1989. Defendants Smith and Marsella deny that most of it ever occurred, as does the Allison Reed Group. Smith, the general manager, was having a sexual liaison with his secretary, Marsella. Employee Showalter alleges that in the spring of 1988, Smith began talking incessantly and obsessively about Marsella to Showalter. The talks were of a sexual nature and usually described to Showalter Smith?s sexual relationship with Marsella, including showing Showalter nude photos, pornographic drawings, and X-rated letters, all involving Marsella. By the end of the summer, Smith began telling Showalter that Marsella was interested in Showalter and prodding Showalter to join his sexual liaison with Marsella. Showalter declined on the ground that he was married, but Smith immediately told Showalter that he and Marsella were also married, but what their spouses didn?t know wouldn?t hurt them. Angrily, Smith told Showalter that Marsella controlled the hiring and firing decisions at Techni-Craft, and that if he valued his job he would follow Smith?s demands. Smith continued to press Showalter to engage in a ménage-à-trois, and reminded Showalter of Smith?s extensive connections in the jewelry business in Rhode Island, implying that Showalter would be shut out of the jewelry business if he did not comply with Smith?s request. Smith also told Showalter that he had to please Marsella in order for everything between Smith and Marsella ?to be okay.? At one point, Smith also threatened Showalter with the loss of his medical benefits if he failed to participate in the sexual activity. Smith knew that this was especially important to Showalter because Showalter?s son had a heart defect and had undergone three open heart surgeries.
This question was answered on: Jul 11, 2017
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