Delivery Driver Claims She Was Sexually Harassed By Manager When Alone In Car With Him
For more than two decades, our Marion County, Florida sexual harassment lawyers have fought to protect and vindicate the rights of Florida employees who have been required to work in a sexually hostile work environment. Having extensive experience representing sexual harassment victims, our Ocala, Florida sexual harassment attorneys know that employees are often sexually harassed under circumstances where there are no witnesses. Indeed, as sexual harassers learn that they can no longer victimize employees without legal consequences, their actions become more secretive. Unfortunately, many sexual harassment victims mistakenly believe they do not have a case unless someone witnesses the sexually harassing behavior they endured. In this article, our Marion County, Florida sexual harassment lawyers explain how the recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in Kasten v. Shaan Enterprises, Inc., Case No. 17-03262 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 26, 2021) demonstrates that sexually harassing behavior is far more likely to take place under circumstances where there are no witnesses.
Employee Alleges Sexual Hostile Work Environment
In that case, Mary Kasten (Kasten) brought a sexual harassment claim against her former employer, Shaan Enterprises, Inc., pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Sexual harassing behavior that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive work environment violates Title VII prohibition against sex discrimination. Shaan Enterprises, Inc. owns and operates Midland Park Domino’s Pizza (MP Domino’s). Kasten claims that MP Domino’s violated Title VII by requiring her to work in a sexually hostile work environment.
In February 2016, Kasten began working for MP Domino’s as a delivery driver. A man named Lebron worked at MP Domino’s on the weekends, covering for the Assistant Manager. Kasten contends that she was forced by the General Manager of MP Domino’s to drive Lebron home every Sunday when they worked night shifts.
On May 1, 2016, Kasten and Lebron worked the night shift together. During their shift, according to Kasten, Lebron subjected her to an explicit sexual proposition, remarked he liked how Kasten “shaked, how she walked through the door,” and said she’s “looking good.” Kasten maintains that she rejected Lebron’s unwelcome sexual advances, telling him that she was “not interested in him.” Kasten alleges that Lebron did not take no for an answer, and responded to her rejection by saying, “you’ll change your mind.” Two days later, Kasten complained to the General Manager about Lebron’s unwelcome sexual behavior. Kasten asserts that the General Manager defended Lebron, saying “I don’t believe that” and “he wouldn’t say something like that to anyone.”
On May 8, 2016, a few days after reporting the incident of sexual harassment to the General Manager, the General Manager released the schedule for the following week. The schedule had Kasten and Lebron working the night shift the following Sunday on May 15, 2016. Nothing inappropriate occurred between the two on their May 15, 2016 shift. However, on the car ride home—Kasten drove Lebron home pursuant to her contention that management required her to do so—Lebron engaged in “egregious and disturbing sexual harassment,” including remarking about Kasten’s body, commenting about having an erection, and propositioning Kasten for sex. Lebron also apparently removed his penis from his pants and started to masturbate in front of Kasten, who refused to watch. After May 15, 2016, Kasten never returned to work at MP Domino’s.
Sexually Harassing Behavior Warrants Trial
MP Domino’s filed a motion with the trial court seeking dismissal of Kasten’s sexual harassment claim. In doing so, MP Domino’s argued that Lebron’s alleged sexually harassing behavior was not sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a sexually hostile work environment. The trial court denied MP Domino’s motion for dismissal and ruled that Kasten was entitled to proceed to a jury trial on the issue of whether she was subjected to severe or pervasive sexual harassment in violation of Title VII. In finding that a jury trial was warranted, the trial court reasoned that Lebron’s alleged sexual behavior, some of which was committed “when alone [with Kasten] in a car at night,” could be “interpreted by a reasonable woman as severe sexual harassment.”
Sexual Harassment Lawyers In Ocala, FL
Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Marion County, Florida sexual harassment attorneys have litigated sexual harassment discrimination cases in Florida courts for more than twenty years. If an employer has required you to work in a sexually hostile work environment or you have questions about your rights as a sexual harassment victim, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida sexual harassment lawyers. Our employee rights law firm takes sexual harassment cases 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.