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James Tarquin, P.A
As part of our commitment to assist and educate employees in fighting back against the abusive employment practices of employers, we offer a broad range of information about employment law issues in our employment blog.

Are A Supervisor’s Demands That A Worker Spend Time Alone With Him Acts of Sexual Harassment?

Rape and sexual assault at work  concept with terrified young woman beeing inappropriately touched by colleague

For more than twenty years, our sexual harassment lawyers in Marion County, Florida have fought for the rights of sexual harassment victims. Through their years of experience representing sexual harassment victims, our sexual harassment attorneys in Ocala, Florida know that supervisors often use their authority to obtain time alone with their sexual harassment victims. For example, supervisors will demand their victims to meet alone with them at work, insist their victims only communicate with them at work, or require their victims to travel alone with them during the course of the workday. Having learned that they can no longer target their victims in front of other employees, the sexual behavior of supervisors becomes less overt and more secretive. In this article, our sexual harassment lawyers in Marion County, Florida explain how the alleged facts in Moll v. Telesector Resources Group, Inc., 2024 WL 820179 (2d Cir. Feb. 28, 2024) show that supervisors cannot victimize their prey by requiring them to spend time alone with them.

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

In that case, a woman named Moll brought a sexual harassment claim against her former employer, Telesector Resources Group, Inc., d/b/a Verizon Services Group (“Verizon”), pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”). Title VII prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex. Under long standing law, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination forbidden by Title VII. To violate Title VII, sexual harassment must be sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create a hostile working environment. Moll claims that she was required to work in a sexually hostile work environment in violation of Title VII.

Moll was employed by Verizon as a sales engineer. Moll alleges that, during her employment with Verizon, she was sexually harassed by her supervisor. While they were on a business trip, according to Moll, the supervisor called her hotel room and repeatedly asked her to come to his hotel room. After she had refused and asked him to stop calling, Moll contends that she took the telephone off the hook. Moll alleges that the supervisor also made comments about her physical appearance, such as about her looking and smelling good. Moll further claims that the supervisor required her communicate with him only in person, not by other means, a requirement that he did not impose on male sales engineers. Moll also asserts that the supervisor left a note on her desk saying that he thought about her while he was in the shower. And Moll claims that the supervisor denied her permission to work from home so that he could continue to see her. According to Mall, the supervisor also asked her “to come back to work with him at night,” when they would be “alone in the office.” Moll further alleges that the supervisor followed her to business lunches, and when asked why (given that other employees were not accompanied on similar occasions), the supervisor stated that he wanted to “develop” Moll.

Acts Of Sexual Harassment

The trial court ruled that Moll’s allegations were not sufficiently severe or pervasive to constitute an actionable sexual harassment claim and dismissed Moll’s sexual harassment claim. The trial court reasoned that the incidents Moll allegedly experienced were “puerile” and “offensive,” but were not “humiliating” and “did not unreasonably interfere” with Moll’s work. On appeal, U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision and reinstated Moll’s sexual harassment claim.

In reversing the trial court, the Second Circuit focused on the supervisor’s alleged attempts to secure time alone with Moll. The court of appeals observed that the supervisor “insisted that she communicate with him only in person, demanded that she stay at the office alone with him late at night, and followed her to client lunches against her wishes because he wanted to ‘develop’ her.” The appellate court also explained that, “perhaps most troubling,” Moll claimed that the supervisor “harassed her with sexually connotative comments and requests to come to his hotel room,” and “left her a note saying that he ‘thought about [her] when he was in the shower.’ ” Based on this evidence, the Second Circuit concluded that a reasonable jury could find that Moll worked in a sexually hostile environment in violation of Title VII.

Free Consultation For Harassment Victims

One of the most important decisions sexual harassment victims must make is which employment law attorneys to consult with regarding their rights under federal employment discrimination law. As part of our dedication to helping sexual harassment victims, an experienced employment law attorney will speak with you personally and you will receive the individualized attention your case deserves. We offer free confidential case evaluations for employees, and you will not have to pay to speak with our employment attorneys regarding your rights. We are available for consultation at your convenience, including scheduling telephone consultations for evenings and weekends.

Marion County Sexual Harassment Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing workers throughout Florida, our sexual harassment attorneys in Marion County, Florida have dedicated their practice to fighting for the rights of sexual harassment victims. If you been required to work in a sexually hostile environment or have questions about your rights as a sexual harassment victim, please contact our office for a free consultation with our sexual harassment lawyers in Marion County, Florida. Our employee rights law firm takes sexual harassment cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

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