Free Essay

Romance

In: Business and Management

Submitted By ARW111
Words 459
Pages 2
§1604.11(a) (2) and (3). “Title VII covers mandatory sexual conduct [quid pro quo] as well as severe and pervasive hostile environments. The statutory basis is that such situations constitute a ‘term’ or ‘condition’ of employment ‘because of’ the individual man or woman’s ‘sex’ within the meaning of the Act” (Rothstein, Craver, Schroeder, & Shoben, 1999). A relationship between a supervisor and subordinate presents some legal issues. Is the subordinate truly a consenting party? Will it result in favoritism? If an employee makes a claim, but one that is legally recognizable, it still has the effect of drawing the employer’s resources to investigate the claim and defend itself against it, even if it wins. If the elements support a legally recognizable claim, not only are there costs associated with defending the claim, but the employer may be found liable by a trier of fact and be subjected to an uncertain amount of damages. If the relationship is between co-workers, the prevailing legal issue is sexual harassment if and when the relationship should cease and one of the parties continues to pursue it against the other’s wishes. The conduct exhibited in pursuit of the relationship then becomes unwelcome.
Let’s take a quick look at these individual scenarios.
Consent is not a synonym for welcome. When ask whether the subordinate in a relationship with a supervisor is a consenting party, what is really meant and should be ask is whether the supervisor’s advances were welcomed and whether the subordinate’s continued consent was voluntary. A woman1 may consent to a sexual relationship, but not welcome it. In Meritor Savings Bank, the plaintiff had a sexual relationship with her supervisor for a number of years. The supervisor was a vice-president of the bank. The plaintiff was initially employed as a teller and was gradually promoted to branch manager over a four-year period. She was then fired for taking excessive use of sick leave. She filed suit for sexual harassment claiming she was constantly subjected to sexual harassment during those four years. She refused his advances at first, but soon developed a fear of losing her job, so she consented. The U.S. Supreme Court stated that “[t]he fact that sex-related conduct was ‘voluntary,’ in the sense that the complainant was not forced to participate against her will, is not a defense to a sexual harassment suit brought under Title VII.” Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57, 68, 106 S.Ct. 2399, 2406 (1986).

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1 In the 21st Century the supervisor may well be a woman and the subordinate a man. For simplicity, I will make references to parties in the traditional supervisor-male, subordinate-female role.

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