Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
1111 NE 25th Ave., Suite 501
Ocala, Florida 34470
James P. Tarquin, P.A Call for a FREE Consultation!352-401-7671
Employment Law Blog
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.

Same-Sex Sexual Harassment Case Survives Dismissal Where Victim Subjected To Explicit Sexual Conduct

Sexual harassment and hardship in life - pictured by word Sexual harassment as a heavy weight on shoulders to symbolize Sexual harassment as a burden, 3d illustration

Having represented victims of same-sex sexual harassment for more than twenty years, our Marion County, Florida hostile work environment lawyers know that employers routinely defend same-sex sexual harassment cases by claiming that the harassment the victim endured was not sexual harassment. Instead, employers invariably characterize the harassment was “horseplay” or “locker room talk,” and claim that the harasser did not intend to be offensive or cause harm. In doing so, employers attempt to mislead courts into believing that whether an employee was subjected to unlawful same-sex sexual harassment is determined by whether the harasser intended to cause harm or offense. In attempting to maneuver courts into focusing on the ostensibly benign motivation or intent of the harasser, employers want courts to ignore the explicitly sexual nature and the discriminatory effect of the harassment.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), employees are protected from sexual harassment in the workplace, including same-sex sexual harassment. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is the federal agency responsible for interpreting and enforcing Title VII, defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. In this article, our Ocala, Florida hostile work environment attorneys explain how the decision by the U.S. District Court for Connecticut in Deprey v. FedEx Freight, Inc., Case No. 3:18-cv-102 (D. Conn. April 8, 2020) illustrates that whether an employee was subjected to prohibited same-sex sexual harassment is not determined by the ostensibly benign intent of the harasser, but, rather, by the nature of the harassment in question.

Employee Claims Same-Sex Harassment

In that case, Jonathan Deprey (Deprey) filed a same-sex sexual harassment case against his former employer, FedEx Freight, Inc. (FedEx), pursuant to Title VII. Deprey contends that he was subjected to same-sex sexual harassment by male co-workers which was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of his employment and create a hostile or abusive work environment in violation of Title VII.

In September 2015, Deprey began working for FedEx as a dock worker. Shortly after his employment began, according to Deprey, three male co-workers began sexually harassing him. The alleged sexual harassment Deprey experienced from the male co-workers included requests to perform oral sex on him, showing him sexually charged pictures, requests to see his penis, asking to kiss him, and mocking his perceived femininity. In March 2016, Deprey complained to FedEx’s human resources department that he was being sexually harassed. FedEx initiated an investigation in response to Deprey’s complaint. At the conclusion of the investigation, FedEx determined that it was “unable to confirm” Deprey’s sexual harassment and hostile work environment allegations.

Male Harassers Target Man For Sexual Conduct

FedEx filed a motion with the trial court seeking dismissal of Deprey’s same-sex sexual harassment case. In doing so, FedEx argued that the acts of harassment by the three male co-workers towards Deprey were made in jest and were not literal sexual advances. The trial court denied FedEx’s motion for dismissal and ruled that Deprey had presented sufficient evidence of unlawful same-sex sexual harassment to bring his case before a jury for resolution.

In denying FedEx’s motion for dismissal, the trial court focused on the sexual nature of the harassment Deprey endured. The trial court determined that the requests to perform oral sex on Deprey, requests to see Deprey’s penis, and requests to kiss Deprey by the male co-workers were motivated by sexual desire and constituted sexual advances. In other words, the trial court explained, the evidence reflected that the male co-workers targeted Deprey for sexual comments and conduct because he is a man and would not have subjected Deprey to the same treatment if he was a woman. Having found that Deprey was harassed because of his sex, the trial court concluded that it was for the jury to determine whether the alleged sexual harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile or abusive working environment in violation of Title VII.

Consult With Ocala Sexual Harassment Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Citrus County, Florida hostile work environment attorneys have represented sexual harassment victims for more than two decades. If you have experienced same-sex sexual harassment or have questions about your protection against same-sex sexual harassment under the federal employment laws, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida hostile work environment lawyers. Our employees’ rights attorneys take 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.

Designed and Powered by NextClient

© 2015 - 2020 James P. Tarquin, P.A. All rights reserved.
This Custom WebShop™ attorney website is designed
by NextClient.com.

Contact Form Tab Close Menu