A former waitress for a local restaurant chain is suing the company after enduring months of alleged sexual harassment including one instance when she received a threat after reporting that her private sex tape had been circulated amongst coworkers.
A sexually explicit video of her – that was meant for her boyfriend – was “inadvertently” posted by her in the group chat of a Facebook group that consisted of the restaurant wait staff.
She maintains that the restaurant not only failed to take steps to remove the video and discourage the sharing of the video, but management or staff also forwarded and shared the video with the restaurant’s kitchen staff on Facebook.
Because of the video she alleges her co-workers began to tease and harass her by calling her names: “goddess of love” and “love queen.”
After two attempts to report the treatment to the corporate office, the company finally responded by asking for more information. She, in turn, filed out a form describing what happened and gave the company a new contact cell phone number. A few hours later, she received the following text message on that phone number: “You can run but you can’t hide. You won’t be taking anyone down but yourself.”
Your task is to determine whether based on these facts and your interpretation of the elements required to prove a tort (negligence and/or intentional tort) what arguments can you make that the waitress was sexually harassed and the restaurant is liable for the harassment? Make sure to identify all the elements required to prove the tort. What might her damages be should she be successful? Secondly, does the business possess any legitimate defenses to a civil charge of sexual harassment?
You can assume the company follows federal law (To wit, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which recognizes sexual harassment as a form of employment discrimination. Sexual harassment being further defined as quid pro quo and hostile work environment.)that bans any form of sexual discrimination in the workplace. It further defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances imposed upon an employee by someone in authority. Such unwanted sexual advances may come in the form of sexual jokes, repeated offensive comments, or looks, intentional body contact, indecent propositions or forced sexual relations.
However, this discussion question requires you to answer under business tort doctrines found in chapter 19, not under Title VII, although this federal law establishes a minimum level of duty.