Sexual Harassment Case Studies
Mitsubishi Motors Manufacturing
A class action lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Illinois by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission against Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America Inc., a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Motors Corp., in April of 1996 (BHRRC 2009). The suit listed an extensive list of sexual harassment incidents affecting more than 300 women working at a manufacturing facility in Normal, Illinois, including subjection to fondling, exposure to pornographic pictures, and the denial of earned promotions on the basis of refusing to perform sexual favors (BHRRC 2009). The suit ended with an award of $34 million paid by MMMA and the adoption of a zero tolerance towards sexual harassment by the company, which itself is subject to review by an independent board (BHRRC 2009).
Two separate cases, later consolidated, were filed against the University of Colorado by women who alleged that they were sexually harassed, assaulted, and gang raped by CU football players and prospective players at a recruiting party (Sander 2007). Though the trial judge initially struck the case down, claiming that the women could not prove university administrators had anything to do with or even knew about the harassment and assault that went on at these parties, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously to overturn the trial judge’s dismissal (Sander 2007). Several CU administrators and faculty members lost their jobs, financial settlements were reached out of court, and major policy changes were implemented (Sander 2007).
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit on behalf of lab technician William Sheard against his employer LensCrafters and its parent company Luxottica Group after Sheard’s allegations of harassment by his female colleague went uninvestigated for more than a year (Jamieson 2011). After repeatedly telling Sheard that she wanted a sexual relationship with him, commenting about his body and touching him at work, and finally attempting to grab his crotch several times at an office party, Melissa Brandt filed a sexual harassment claim that she later to acknowledged to be false yet that was immediately investigated (Jamieson 2011). Leaving the company in 2008 after receiving threats from Brandt’s father, Sheard received a settlement after the suit was filed, although no acknowledgement of wrongdoing was ever made by LensCrafters (Jamieson 2011).
Meritor Savings Bank
A banking supervisor made sexual advances to a female subordinate during her first year with Meritor Savings, and fearing she would lose her job she agreed to a sexual relationship with him (TWC 2011). The harassment extended to fondling her in front of other employees, following her into the restroom during work hours, and exposing himself to her on numerous occasions (TWC 2011). In a 1986 lawsuit filed after the woman had left the company, the court determined that damages could be sought as long as the relationship had been unwelcome and abusive, which this had been (TWC 2011).
BHRRC. (2011). Case profile: Mitsubishi lawsuit. Accessed 29 September 2011. http://www.business-humanrights.org/Categories/Lawlawsuits/Lawsuitsregulatoryaction/LawsuitsSelectedcases/MitsubishilawsuitresexualharassmentinUSA
Jamieson, D. (2011). LensCrafters Settles Female-On-Male Sexual Harassment Case. Accessed 29 S. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/20/lenscrafters-settles-fema_n_880709.html
Sander, L. (2007). U. Of Colorado at Boulder Settles Lawsuit Over Alleged Rapes at Football Recruiting Party for $2.85 Million. Accessed 29 September 2011. http://www.titleix.info/Resources/Legal-Cases/Colorado-Lawsuit-Alleged-Rape-Football-Recruiting-Party.aspx
TWC. (2011). Case studies in sexual harassment. Accessed 29 September 2011. http://www.twc.state.tx.us/news/efte/case_studies_in_sexual_harassment.html
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