Columbus Hospitality Faces Lawsuit for Sexual Harassment

According to BLR, a federal district court recently considered if touching someone on the ear can be considered sexual harassment. A young female worker employed by Columbus Hospitality claimed her manager came up behind her on several occasions and touched her ears, even though she repeatedly asked that he stop. Additionally, the employee complained that her manager and other co-workers allegedly circulated untrue rumors about her.

The employee complained to an assistant manager who told the employees to stop spreading rumors, but the misconduct continued. The female employee felt compelled to quit her job due to a hostile work environment and because her managers were mad about her complaint. She sued the company under Title VII and Ohio law.

The court found that the unwanted physical touching by a member of the opposite sex could be deemed sexual in nature. The judge also concluded that harassing behavior that is not sexually explicit but is directed at women and motivated by discrimination can satisfy the legal requirement that harassment must be based on sex. The court noted that Columbus Hospitality did not take effective action to stop the harassing conduct and that the manager in question continued the conduct.

Theresa Robbins claimed sexual harassment and wrongful termination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1946 prohibits employers from discriminating against any individual because of such individual’s sex. The law also affords employees to work in an environment free from discriminatory intimidation, ridicule and insult.

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