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Sexual Harassment: In Ohio, Harassing Manger Need Not Have Firing Authority For Employer to be Liable

On Behalf of | Jul 31, 2013 | Gender Discrimination, Sexual Harassment |

Sex Harassment Lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio

One of the most common forms of sexual harassment that our employment attorneys encounter is “quid pro quo” harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is harassment in which a supervisor coerces sexual favors from a subordinate employee in exchange for a promise of promotion or a threat of job consequences.

Under Ohio’s sexual harassment law, a supervisor does not need to have actual hiring and/or firing authority over the subordinate in order to subject the employer to liability. Rather, all that is required is that the sexual harasser held a higher position than the subordinate. As long as the harassed subordinate believed that the harasser could carry out the job threats, the employer can be held liable for the harasser’s actions.

A recent case nicely illustrates this point. In Scarvelli v. Melmont Holding Co., a Burger King assistant manager demanded oral sex from one of his subordinate employees. The assistant manager threatened to terminate the employee if she failed to comply. As it turned out, the assistant manager did not have actual firing authority over the employee. However, because the employee believed that the assistant manager could terminate her, she complied with his demand for oral sex.

Cleveland Ohio Sexual Harassment Attorney

The employee sued Burger King for quid pro quo sexual harassment. The Ninth District Court of Appeals agreed with the employee, holding that if she reasonably believed that the assistant manager could fire her, the company was liable for his actions.

If you believe that your employer is sexually harassing you or discriminating against you because of your gender, contact the attorneys at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm today for a free and confidential initial consultation.

If you feel that you are being sexually harassed or are working in a sexually charged or hostile working environment, you should not wait to call the right attorney at 866-797-6040 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, you will meet with a sexual harassment lawyer/hostile work environment attorney to find out what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them. Sexual harrassment is a former of gender discrimination, and employers should be held accountable if they discriminate against female workers in any fashion – but particularly for sexual harrassment.


The materials available at this gender discrimination and employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. It is best contact an Ohio sexual harassment attorney/hostile work environment lawyer to obtain advice with respect to sexual harassment/hostile work environment questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm or any individual attorney.

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