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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Case Study

Mary Sampson has been working at the AJ & Associates Law Firm for over 2 years as a paralegal assistant. David Johnson is a young lawyer who began working at the firm about 10 months ago. Shortly after starting with the firm, David began asking Mary to go out with him, but she repeatedly turned him down. Just before Mary's annual review, David tells her that he is on the review committee and if she would go out with him, just one time, he would put in a good word on her annual review. Mary turns him down, but David continues to ask Mary out. Mary then complains to her boss, but nothing is done. David is later promoted and becomes Mary's direct supervisor. David doesn't let up and he becomes more aggressive in his efforts. He tells Mary "Why don't we just talk on the phone some time after work." "I can make your job a whole lot better, including getting you a promotion." Eventually, Mary quits and files a complaint with the EEOC.
a. Discuss the issues in this scenario and whether Mary was the victim of sexual harassment.
b. Explain at least three actions that an employer might take to protect itself from sexual harassment lawsuits.
c. What effect do complaints of sexual harassment have on i) a company's image; and ii) their ability to recruit and retain female employees?

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Solution:
a. We have a big problem in this scenario when Mary complained to her boss and nothing was done. This just increased the company's liability tenfold. An employer simply cannot, ever, under any circumstance ignore a complaint regarding sexual harassment. It is a direct violation of the EEOC's regulations governing sexual harassment. A proper investigation should have started the moment Mary complained to her boss. Also, I notice a long delay in Mary actually complaining to her boss. This shows that the company's policies are lax and not well-known or enforced regarding harassment, which is also displayed by the boss's handling of the situation. We have an issue with the harasser, the boss, and company ...

Solution Summary

This solution answers each of the case questions in the sexual harassment scenario described above. The applicable laws, rules and regulations are discussed, and the actions that should be taken by each party are also discussed.

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