Details: In a meeting
with the owner of Elora Jean & Co., you were advised of a charge an
employee recently filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC). The charge states that two female employees in one of the non-union
satellite offices were subject to repeated and unwelcome sexual advances by
their male supervisor, who is on a work visa. The charge further states that
the two women previously complained to the supervisor's immediate superior
letting him know they felt uncomfortable and would like the behavior to stop.
The harassment did not stop, but rather, it continued over a period of three
months. At that point, the female employees decided that the company would not
help. They decided to file a claim with the EEOC, stating they were being
sexually harassed at work.
The owner is certain
the company can put together a response that will clear them of the charge. He
asked if you felt they had a 'pretty good case.'" You state that you are
not legal counsel for Elora Jean & Co. However, you request permission to
investigate the claim before giving your thoughts on the company's policy
documentation for a legal defense.
Given your knowledge
of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, you are concerned with Elora Jean &
Co.'s ability to defend the EEOC charge. You plan to engage in your own investigation
into the claim to learn more about the complaints made, who had knowledge, what
type of investigation was conducted (if any), and what actions were taken.
As you prepare your
strategy for investigating the claim, consider the following:
What is the legal
definition for sexual harassment?
What investigation process should Elora Jean & Co. have engaged in when the
claims were first made? Why will that be important to the defense of the EEOC
What is the legal liability for Elora Jean & Co. if the EEOC investigation
finds the charge to be factual with employer knowledge of the events? Consider
the options of mediation vs. litigation with regard to organizational cost.
What should Elora Jean & Co. do to prevent this type of charge in the future?
What are your overall recommendations for the owner with regard to preparing a
response to the EEOC charge?
How should Elora Jean & Co. address a harassment case when it involves
employees with a work visa? Consider any special circumstances in employment
law dealing with harassment and foreign labor in the workplace?
The following links may be useful to you in this process:
EEOC Investigations: What an Employer Should Know
Sexual Harassment: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
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