Posts tagged with "employment law attorney"

Employee Alleging Quid Pro Quo Harassment Could Not Show Her Termination Was Linked to Sexual Relations with Employer

In a Connecticut case decided earlier this year from the Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk, where a female employee was sexually involved with her employer, her claims of quid pro quo harassment and constructive discharge were dismissed because she could not demonstrate sex was an implicit condition of her employment and the cessation of their relations caused her termination.[1]

From February 2008 to February 2010, the plaintiff was employed by the defendant, Post Road, as an office assistant.  Beginning in 2006 before the employment relationship began, the plaintiff and Mr. Castellana, the president of her later employer, had sexual relations on numerous occasions.  At some point in 2009 the casual relations developed into a dating relationship.  In May of 2009, the plaintiff moved into Castellana’s home and while there, the parties engaged in sexual relations on a regular basis. In September of the same year she moved out of Castellana’s home and into his condominium with her children pursuant to a month-to-month tenancy.  The sexual relationship continued roughly until her the time of her termination.  The plaintiff alleged that on February 19, 2010 they had an argument over their relationship which culminated in his request that she discontinue working for Post Road. She believed that although their sexual relationship had ended she could have continued working for Post Road by separating her personal life from her business life.[2]  Castellana testified that it was her decision to break off the relationship and that his decision to terminate her employment had nothing to do with the cessation of their sexual relationship.

The female employee sued her former employer, alleging that her employment was terminated in violation of Gen.Stat. § 46a–60(a)(8).  She alleged that the sexual relationship was an “implicit term or condition of plaintiff’s employment” and that “the termination of the relationship was the sole basis for the defendant’s decision” to terminate her employment.[3]

Connecticut’s Employment Discrimination Law at Section 46a–60(a)(8), provides:

“It shall be a discriminatory practice in violation of this section: For an employer, by the employer or the employer’s agent, for an employment agency, by itself or its agent, or for any labor organization, by itself or its agent, to harass any employee, person seeking employment or member on the basis of sex or gender identity or expression. “Sexual harassment” shall, for the purposes of this section, be defined as any or any conduct of a sexual nature when (A) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of any individual’s employment, (B) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or (C) such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.”

In applying this statute Connecticut courts followed federal case law for guidance. [4] Traditionally, a claim of sexual harassment under federal law proceeded on one of two theories: (1) quid pro quo—e.g. favorable treatment in return for sexual favors-or (2) hostile work environment. “In the typical case of quid pro quo sexual harassment the superior … extort(s) sexual consideration from an employee.”[5]  The 2nd Circuit’s decision in Gallagher v. Delaney [6] supported the plaintiff’s position that Section 46a–60(a)(8) is violated when the sexual relationship is a motivating factor in the employment decision.  There the Court stated, the discontinuance of sexual favors by either the employee or employer “was used as the basis for decisions affecting … the conditions or privileges of her employment.”

In denying the employee’s claim for quid pro quo harassment under Section 46a–60(a)(8) the Court held, “There was no evidence from which an inference may reasonably be drawn that sex was a condition of the plaintiff’s hiring or retention of her employment. Although unquestionably the parties engaged in sexual relations during the employment relationship both on and off the premises, there was no credible evidence that the cessation of the sexual relationship was the cause of the termination.”[7] The Court based its conclusion on two facts: prior to and during the plaintiff’s employment both parties were nonexclusive and sexually active with other partners and the plaintiff’s email sent on March 1, 2010 to the Castellana apologized to her hurtful treatment to him and thanked him for his years of care and attention.  The Court found her approbation of their relationship belied her assertion that the discontinuance of the sexual relationship caused her termination of employment.  Similarly, her testimony that she would have continued working for the defendant after the relations because she could have kept her business life separate from her personal life suggested that the sexual relationship was not an implicit condition or term of her employment.  Sex was not implicit in the employment relationship and therefore did not constitute quid pro quo harassment under Section 46a–60(a)(8).

Sexual relations in the workplace can be the product of quid pro quo sexual harassment; it is imperative that you consult with an experienced employment law practitioner.  The lawyers at Maya Murphy, P.C., are experienced and knowledgeable employment law practitioners and assist clients in Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and elsewhere in Fairfield County. Should you have any questions about sexual harassment and workplace discrimination or any other employment law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya, Esq. He may be reached at Maya Murphy, P.C., 266 Post Road East, Westport, Connecticut, by telephone at (203) 221-3100, or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com.

 


[1] Meyer v. Post Rd. Auto Body Shop, Inc., FSTCV106007251S, 2013 WL 538954 (Conn. Super. Ct. Jan. 8, 2013)

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Brittel v. Department of Correction, 247 Conn. 148, 164 (1998).

[5] Henson v. City of Dundee, 682 F.2d 897, 910 (1982).

[6] Gallagher v. Delaney, 139 F.3d 338, 346 (2d cir.1998)

[7] Meyer v. Post Rd. Auto Body Shop, Inc., FSTCV106007251S, 2013 WL 538954

 

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Court Allows Title VII Claim of Hostile Work Environment Where Sexual Relationship with Supervisor

In a Federal District Court case decided this year, the Court held that an employee engaged in a sexual relationship with her supervisor, of which other managers had knowledge, could proceed with a claim for hostile work environment and constructive discharge against her employer.[1]

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought an action on behalf of three female former employees of a sports apparel retailer, alleging claims for sexual harassment by the store general manager, Fulton, and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The employer, Finish Line, moved for summary judgment to dismiss the claims.[2]

Fulton was General Manager for the Cool Spring location of Finish Line.  As General Manager, thirty-eight-year-old Fulton, hired and fired all store employees, set weekly work schedules, disciplined employees and supervised all store employees.  In 2008 and 2009 Fulton hired two Assistant Managers who had a duty to report any allegations of sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct that violated Defendant’s policies.

Between December 2008 and March 2009, Fulton hired three minor females.  Within weeks of hiring the first employee, 16 year-old Roberts, Fulton began making unwelcome comments toward Roberts and initiating physical conduct.  Roberts alleged that while at work Fulton would rub her back, hug her multiple times in a day, and run his hand down her back to her buttocks.  Roberts found Fulton’s touching of her unwelcome for approximately a month, and initially stated her opposition to Fulton’s touching.[3] In April 2009, Roberts accepted an invitation to watch a movie at Fulton’s home and while there voluntarily engaged in intercourse with Fulton.  Fulton and Roberts began having sex on a weekly basis.[4]  Roberts continued to maintain her physical relationship with Fulton out of fear of being transferred to another store location.  In October Roberts’ parents learned about the relationship and reported the matter to the police who arrested Fulton and charged him with statutory rape.[5]  Roberts never returned to work at the Defendant’s store.  While the Assistant Managers of Finish Line were aware of “rumors” that Roberts and Fulton were engaged in a romantic relationship outside of work, neither reported this information as a violation of company policy.

To establish a prima facie case of sexual harassment or a sexually hostile work environment under Title VII, the plaintiff must prove: (1) that she is a member of a protected class; (2) that she was subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment; (3) that the harassment was based on her sex; (4) that the harassment created a hostile work environment; and (5) that the employer failed to take reasonable care to prevent or correct any sexually harassing behavior.[6]  To be actionable, sexual harassment must be sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the plaintiff’s employment.

In finding that Fulton’s alleged touching by the minor employee could be unwelcome, the Court noted the sexual conduct took place in the employment setting, Fulton’s role as a supervisor, Roberts’ 16 year-old age, and the twenty two age difference between Roberts and her manager.[7]

Finish Line asserted that it could not be found liable because it satisfied the Ellerth’s requirements by exercising through its harassment policies reasonable care to prevent and correct sexually harassing behavior and Roberts did not report any alleged harassment.  The District Court stated with regard to supervisors in the workplace, “it is no longer enough for an employer to take corrective action; employers now have an affirmative duty to prevent sexual harassment by supervisors.”[8] The widespread “rumors” the assistant managers heard triggered their affirmative duty to take steps to prevent any harassment. The Court concluded there is sufficient evidence the assistant managers had knowledge of unwelcome sexual harassment the managers had an affirmative duty to inform Finish Line of any alleged romantic relationship between Roberts, a minor, and Fulton about which they may have known.[9]  With these determinations made, the Court allowed the employees’ claims of hostile work environment and constructive discharge to proceed.

If you are the victim of sexual harassment or discriminatory treatment in the workplace, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced employment law practitioner.  The lawyers at Maya Murphy, P.C., are experienced and knowledgeable employment law practitioners and assist clients in Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and elsewhere in Fairfield County. Should you have any questions about Title VII and workplace discrimination or any other employment law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya, Esq. He may be reached at Maya Murphy, P.C., 266 Post Road East, Westport, Connecticut, by telephone at (203) 221-3100, or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com.


[1] E.E.O.C. v. Finish Line, Inc., 3:11-CV-00920, 2013 WL 139523 (M.D. Tenn. Jan. 10, 2013)

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[7] E.E.O.C. v. Finish Line, Inc.

[8] Williams v. Gen. Motors Corp., 187 F.3d 553, 561 (6th Cir.1999).

[9] E.E.O.C. v. Finish Line, Inc.

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Retaliation Claim under Title VII Denied, Employer Had Legitimate Reasons for Pay Decrease

In a U.S. District Court case decided earlier this year, a female employee’s claim of retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was dismissed because the employer provided legitimate, nondiscriminatory justification for its adverse employment action.[1]

The female employee brought action against her employer, alleging unlawful discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964[2] and the equivalent state discrimination law[3]. Specifically, plaintiff alleges she suffered unlawful discrimination, based upon her sex, alleging she was subjected to a hostile work environment and suffered retaliation for complaining about the same.[4]

The female employee began working for HUB as a security officer in September of 2010. Prior to beginning active duty, she underwent HUB’s orientation and training process, which included an orientation on HUB’s sexual harassment policy. The plaintiff was initially assigned to the BP worksite in Venice, Louisiana, but was subsequently transferred to another BP site in Houma.  The female employee alleged that between October 3, 2010 and October 8, 2010, she was harassed by another employee, Carl Martin. She testified that during that period, Martin, on numerous occasions made sexual advances toward her, inappropriate gestures and remarks about her body.[5]  She further alleged, in one of these instances, Martin grabbed her I.D. card around her neck and touched her breasts. He then told her to look at his pants, where there was a noticeable erection.[6]

On October 7, 2010, the plaintiff reported the harassment to supervisors and requested she be moved to a day shift position away from Martin. After a subsequent meeting two days later, she again requested to be transferred, but was told a different position was not immediately available. The employee was put on paid leave of absence and did not work from October 9, 2010 to October 12, 2010.  HUB had a need for a security officer on the day shift in Houma, and on October 12 she was placed in that position.[7]  The pay rate for the day position was $12.00 per hour, while the pay rate on the Venice BP job was $13.00 per hour. While the plaintiff initially was placed at a $12.00 rate, the Company, upon discovery of this, applied a $13.00 rate to her time in Houma, and she was paid the difference.

The anti-retaliation provision of Title VII prohibits an employer from “discriminating against an employee or job applicant because that individual opposed any practice made unlawful by Title VII.”[8]  To establish a prima facie case of retaliation, a plaintiff must show: (1) she engaged in activity protected under Title VII; (2) she suffered an adverse employment action; and (3) a causal link exists between the protected activity and the adverse employment action. In order to satisfy the second element, “a plaintiff must show that a reasonable employee would have found the challenged action materially adverse, which in this context means it might have dissuaded a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination.”[9] If the plaintiff successfully presents a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the employer to provide a “legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for the adverse employment action.”[10]

In analyzing the employee’s claim for retaliation, the Court held that the employer had provided a legitimate, non-discriminatory justification for its actions.  During the four day period the employee did not work she received compensation.  Rather, than being a situation where she was suspended without pay in retaliation for her charges of sexual harassment, she was not working because the company was attempting to accommodate her request to be moved to a daytime shift.  Regarding her temporary reduction in pay when she was transferred to a daytime shift, the Court was satisfied it that was a minor oversight due to different work locations and the fact that it was rectified once discovered demonstrated that it was not intentional discrimination in retaliation for her complaints.  Therefore, the Court dismissed her retaliation claim because the employer had demonstrated a legitimate, nondiscriminatory purpose for its actions.

If you are the victim of sexual harassment or discriminatory treatment in the workplace, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced employment law practitioner.  The lawyers at Maya Murphy, P.C., are experienced and knowledgeable employment law practitioners and assist clients in Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and elsewhere in Fairfield County. Should you have any questions about Title VII and workplace discrimination or any other employment law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya, Esq. He may be reached at Maya Murphy, P.C., 266 Post Road East, Westport, Connecticut, by telephone at (203) 221-3100, or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com.



[1] Claiborne v. HUB Enterprises, Inc., 6:11-CV-1552, 2013 WL 265237 (W.D. La. Jan. 23, 2013)

[4] Claiborne v. HUB Enterprises, Inc., 2013 WL 265237

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8] Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co., v. White, 548 U.S. 53, 56, (2006)

[9] Id. at 68.

[10] Hernandez v. Yellow Transp., Inc., 670 F.3d 644, 651, 657 (2012).

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Mediating a Sexual Harassment Claim

Statistically, the overwhelming majority of sexual harassment cases are resolved prior to trial by “alternate dispute resolution” in the form of mediation or arbitration. These proceedings (mediation in particular) are more informal than a courtroom trial, but you still need a zealous and experienced advocate on your side.

Fairfield County is home to many Fortune 1000 companies. Executives from Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Norwalk, Westport, and Fairfield come to Maya Murphy, P.C. for legal counsel and trial advocacy when they have been victims of sexual harassment. Sometimes these cases are adjudicated administratively before the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (“CHRO”) and tried before the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. More often, however, they gain closure through non-binding mediation before a disinterested third party—frequently a retired federal or state judge.

Maya Murphy recently represented a senior female executive of a large company who had been sexually harassed by her direct report, i.e., her “boss.” A preliminary investigation indicated that the claimant had a solid cause of action and we immediately filed a Complaint with CHRO as a predicate to suing in federal court, if the need arose. As is often the case, however, counsel for the employer suggested mediation. Because mediation can produce an acceptable and quicker result if it is handled properly, our client agreed. The parties proceeded to mediate before a mutually selected retired U.S. District Judge and the case settled for a representative six-figure sum.

The key to successful mediation of a sexual harassment claim is always to be prepared to take your case to trial in federal court. Stated differently, the key to successful mediation is always to be prepared to walk away if the process is not leading toward an acceptable settlement. This takes courage on the part of the claimant and discipline on the part of her attorney. If, however, the attorney has approached the mediation with all the seriousness and intensity of a jury trial, more often than not, a settlement can be achieved on terms approaching a best-case, in-court scenario.

Virtually all mediators require preliminary submission of a confidential “mediation statement” outlining the factual and legal parameters of the underlying claim. For the seasoned trial lawyer, the mediation statement is both his Stradivarius violin and his Louisville Slugger baseball bat. A well-crafted mediation statement can both tug at the mediator’s heart strings and pound incessantly at egregious facts and undisputed points of law. Simply stated, mediation success depends in large measure on the quality of the mediation statement and its ability to persuade the mediator in the first instance that the claimant’s cause is well-founded and the law requires fair and just compensation. Lawyers who submit “pro-forma” mediation statements do so at their client’s risk. Such statements should be as comprehensive and compelling as any trial memorandum or appellate brief submitted to a court of law.

Another key to mediation success is “reasonableness.” In sexual harassment cases, emotions run high and client expectations have to be properly managed. An experienced litigator can evaluate a case and establish for the client a “realm of reason” within which the case should be able to settle. This is often a function of experience and ensures that any agreed upon settlement reflects the true value of the underlying case without “leaving any money on the table” as negotiations unfold. Here, an experienced mediator can be of assistance in managing the expectations of a client and rounding down an unrealistic demand by counsel. At the end of the day, however, attorney and client have to be prepared to walk away from the mediation if the mediator’s “shuttle diplomacy” is not moving the parties toward a reasonable and rational compromise. Litigation always remains as a viable alternative and the lawyer who is prepared for mediation will be prepared for trial, as well.

The employment lawyers at Maya Murphy who handle sexual harassment cases throughout Connecticut are equally adept at mediating or trying such cases. We approach each case with the intention and attention that it deserves. For further information, contact Robert L. Keepnews, Esq. at Maya Murphy, P.C. (203) 221-3100, or rkeepnews@mayalaw.com

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Use of Word “Bitch” Does Not Automatically Imply Gender-Based Hostility

A work environment is considered “hostile” if a reasonable person would have found it so and if the plaintiff subjectively so perceived it.  Outrageous conduct and egregious acts that are severe or pervasive automatically command an inference of gender-based hostility.  In the workplace of today, crude or degrading epithets, while hardly the rule, are certainly not the exception.  One such word—“bitch”—has seemingly found a place of its own in some people’s daily vocabulary.  The question arises as to whether constant use of that word in relation to a female employee is sex-based and reflects hostility toward women.  The short answer is it can, but doesn’t necessarily have to.

In a recent federal court case, a female field technician for a cable company filed suit based upon a veritable litany of gender-based abuse.  She alleged male technicians received better assignments, more overtime, and required tools and equipment.  In addition to disparately harsh working conditions, she also alleged that her foremen continually referred to her as a “bitch.”  An appellate court found based upon the record before it that constant use of the word was sex-based and reflected hostility to women.  The operative language here is “based upon the record before it.”

The plaintiff argued that the word “bitch” is such an intensely degrading sexual epithet that its use should automatically result in a finding that it implies hostility toward women.  The court readily acknowledged that the use of that word in a variety of contexts reflects that hostility.  The court rejected, however, a rule that would automatically command from its use an inference of gender-based hostility.  As in so many employment discrimination cases, the finding of a hostile work environment depends upon the totality of the circumstances.  In this case, when grouped with other acts of disparate treatment, constant use of the word “bitch” could reasonably be found to contribute to a subjectively and objectively hostile work environment.

Viewed in isolation, however, it would appear that even repeated reference to a female employee as a “bitch”, without other evidence of other sufficiently severe or pervasive discriminatory acts, will not support a claim of a hostile work environment.  Each case, however, must be assessed on its own particular facts.

The employment law attorneys in the Westport, Connecticut office of Maya Murphy, P.C. have extensive experience in the negotiation and litigation of all sorts of employment-related disputes and assist clients from Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport and Fairfield in resolving such issues. Please contact our Westport office at 203-221-3100.

 

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Damage Award in Sexual Harassment case reduced from $500,000 to $50,000

In a case before the Supreme Court of New York, the Court modified a $500,000 damage award for mental anguish from sexual harassment to $50,000.  The Court found the half million dollar damage award by the Commissioner of Human Rights excessive and stated, “In sexual harassment proceedings with the State Division of Human Rights, damage awards for mental anguish and humiliation must be based upon actual pecuniary loss and emotional injury; care must be taken to insure that the award is compensatory and not punitive in nature.”[1]

The petitioner in the case was a female high school student employed by Young Legends, LLC in a franchise sandwich shop in the City of Norwich.  In January 2007 the teenage employee filed a complaint with the State Division of Human Rights alleging that Dale Blackwood, her supervisor and the owner of Young Legends, subjected her to sexual harassment during her employment.  She testified about Blackwood’s “touchy feely” interactions with female employees and offensive sexual remarks.[2]  In particular Blackwood put constant pressure on the petitioner to visit him alone in his apartment and when she eventually did so, he forced her to engage in sexual intercourse.  When Blackwood asked her to return to his apartment, she refused.  In a series of angry, insulting text messages he told her that her refusal meant she was quitting her job.

Following a public hearing the Administrative Law Judge determined that the petitioner had been subjected to quid pro quo and hostile work environment sexual harassment and that Blackwood was personally liable.  The Judge recommended a damage award of $1,218.75 for lost wages and $25,000 for mental anguish and humiliation. On administrative review, the Commissioner of Human Rights modified the order by increasing the mental anguish award to $500,000.[3]

On appeal the Supreme Court of New York indicated that in sexual harassment and discrimination proceedings with the State Division of Human Rights, damage awards for mental anguish and humiliation must be based on actual pecuniary loss and emotional injury.  Damage awards are meant to compensate the victim rather than be punitive in nature.  While Blackwood’s conduct was completely reprehensible, the court compared the evidence to similar sexual harassment and discrimination cases to conclude that the Commissioner’s award was excessive and reduced it to $50,000.[4]

 

The lawyers at Maya Murphy, P.C., are experienced and knowledgeable employment law practitioners and assist clients in New York, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and elsewhere in Fairfield County. Should you have any questions about a sexual harassment claim or workplace discrimination or any other employment law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya, Esq. He may be reached at Maya Murphy, P.C., 266 Post Road East, Westport, Connecticut, by telephone at (203) 221-3100, or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com.



[1] New York State Div. of Human Rights v. Young Legends, LLC, 90 A.D.3d 1265, 1269-70 (2011)

[2] Id. at 1266.

[3] Id.

[4] Id. at 1270.

Hostile Work Environment vs. Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

As an employment law attorney I can get too accustomed to the legal jargon.  One question frequently asked by prospective clients is “what is the difference between hostile work environment and quid pro quo sexual harassment?”  While both types of employment discrimination are illegal and actionable, they can take very different forms.

Perhaps the most succinct explanation of the two causes of action comes from a four-year old Connecticut Appellate Court case: Quid pro quo sexual harassment, as its name suggests, conditions employment on the return of sexual favors; hostile environment sexual harassment is conduct that “has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.”

There is a related variant, retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment, that also gives rise to a cause of action but which must be separately pleaded and proven.  That is why a victim of sexual harassment or retaliation should consult with an experienced employment law litigator before framing the particular allegations of a lawsuit.  At trial, you will be held to the allegations of your Complaint and limited to presenting only evidence in support of your claims.  Thus, if you plead quid pro quo, you may not be able to prove hostile work environment, or vice versa.

The employment law attorneys in the Westport, Connecticut office of Maya Murphy, P.C. have extensive experience in the negotiation and litigation of all sorts of employment-related disputes and assist clients from Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport and Fairfield in resolving such issues.  Please contact our Westport office at 203-221-3100.

Hostile Work Environment vs. Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

As an employment law attorney I can get too accustomed to the legal jargon.  One question frequently asked by prospective clients is “what is the difference between hostile work environment and quid pro quo sexual harassment?”  While both types of employment discrimination are illegal and actionable, they can take very different forms.

Perhaps the most succinct explanation of the two causes of action comes from a four-year old Connecticut Appellate Court case: Quid pro quo sexual harassment, as its name suggests, conditions employment on the return of sexual favors; hostile environment sexual harassment is conduct that “has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.”

There is a related variant, retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment, that also gives rise to a cause of action but which must be separately pleaded and proven.  That is why a victim of sexual harassment or retaliation should consult with an experienced employment law litigator before framing the particular allegations of a lawsuit.  At trial, you will be held to the allegations of your Complaint and limited to presenting only evidence in support of your claims.  Thus, if you plead quid pro quo, you may not be able to prove hostile work environment, or vice versa.

The employment law attorneys in the Westport, Connecticut office of Maya Murphy, P.C. have extensive experience in the negotiation and litigation of all sorts of employment-related disputes and assist clients from Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport and Fairfield in resolving such issues.  Please contact our Westport office at 203-221-3100.

What Is a Constructive Discharge?

Hopefully, you have never been fired—that is a discharge or termination.  Sometimes, however, an employee has no reasonable alternative to quitting—that is a constructive discharge.  The involuntary nature of the employee’s “quit” may enable him or her to claim the constructive discharge as an adverse employment action so as to maintain a claim for employment discrimination.  An employee’s reasonable decision to resign because of unendurable working conditions is, for remedial purposes, equated to a formal discharge.

A constructive discharge occurs when an employer indirectly, but deliberately, makes an employee’s working conditions so intolerable that the employee is forced involuntarily to resign.  The key points of inquiry are the employer’s intentional conduct and the intolerable level of the employee’s working conditions.  The standard for evaluation is objective–how would a reasonable employee behave in the particular employee’s shoes?  Subjective feelings as to the intolerable nature of the employee’s position cannot support a finding of constructive discharge.

In assessing a claim of constructive discharge, individual factors, standing alone, may be insufficient to carry the day.  For this reason, the pertinent conditions are aggregated since a reasonable person encounters life’s circumstances cumulatively rather than individually.  Some routine workplace events— e.g. a poor performance appraisal, lack of training, or increased job demands—are to be expected and do not support an inference that a reasonable person would be “compelled” to resign.  The standard for constructive discharge goes beyond difficult or unpleasant working conditions.

As is so often the case in employment law, the presence of a constructive discharge depends upon the circumstances of the particular employee involved.  If you feel that your employer deliberately made your work environment intolerable and that you were forced to quit, you should confer with a seasoned employment law litigator to determine your rights.

The employment law attorneys in the Westport, Connecticut office of Maya Murphy, P.C. have extensive experience in the negotiation and litigation of all sorts of employment-related disputes and assist clients from Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport and Fairfield in resolving such issues. Please contact our offices at 203-221-3100.

What Is a Constructive Discharge?

Hopefully, you have never been fired—that is a discharge or termination.  Sometimes, however, an employee has no reasonable alternative to quitting—that is a constructive discharge.  The involuntary nature of the employee’s “quit” may enable him or her to claim the constructive discharge as an adverse employment action so as to maintain a claim for employment discrimination.  An employee’s reasonable decision to resign because of unendurable working conditions is, for remedial purposes, equated to a formal discharge.

A constructive discharge occurs when an employer indirectly, but deliberately, makes an employee’s working conditions so intolerable that the employee is forced involuntarily to resign.  The key points of inquiry are the employer’s intentional conduct and the intolerable level of the employee’s working conditions.  The standard for evaluation is objective–how would a reasonable employee behave in the particular employee’s shoes?  Subjective feelings as to the intolerable nature of the employee’s position cannot support a finding of constructive discharge.

In assessing a claim of constructive discharge, individual factors, standing alone, may be insufficient to carry the day.  For this reason, the pertinent conditions are aggregated since a reasonable person encounters life’s circumstances cumulatively rather than individually.  Some routine workplace events— e.g. a poor performance appraisal, lack of training, or increased job demands—are to be expected and do not support an inference that a reasonable person would be “compelled” to resign.  The standard for constructive discharge goes beyond difficult or unpleasant working conditions.

As is so often the case in employment law, the presence of a constructive discharge depends upon the circumstances of the particular employee involved.  If you feel that your employer deliberately made your work environment intolerable and that you were forced to quit, you should confer with a seasoned employment law litigator to determine your rights.

The employment law attorneys in the Westport, Connecticut office of Maya Murphy, P.C. have extensive experience in the negotiation and litigation of all sorts of employment-related disputes and assist clients from Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport and Fairfield in resolving such issues. Please contact our offices at 203-221-3100.