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Can I Sue My Same Gender Boss For Sexual Harassment? I Need A Lawyer! | The Spitz Law Firm

| Feb 11, 2015 | Employment Discrimination, Gender Discrimination, lgbt lesbian, Sexual Harassment, Wrongful Termination |

Best Ohio Sexual Harassment Claims Attorney Answer: Is there such a thing as same-sex sexual harassment? Can a male boss sexually harass a male employee? Can LGBT employees sue for sexual harassment in Ohio? Can I be fired for reporting my manager for sexually harassing me?

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From the files of “you can’t even make this stuff up” comes the story of “The Nub,” or “Mr. Nub,” if you prefer to be more formal when referring to perpetrators of sexual harassment. The “charming” story of Mr. Nub unfolded in the case of Arredondo v. Estrada. In this employment law case, three employees who worked for Weatherford International, LLC filed suit asserting, in part, claims of discrimination based on sex, and more specifically, claims of sexual harassment and sexually hostile work environment.

In this case, the employees worked on a crew supervised by Joey Estrada, a.k.a. the aforementioned “Mr. Nub.” Estrada earned his disturbing nickname by virtue of the fact that he was missing half of one of his fingers – “The Nub” – and was well known for: using his fist with the nub extended to punch coworkers; licking his “nub” and putting it in a coworker’s drink, or even in their ear (a “wet willy”); and would threaten coworkers with “nubbings.” It is undisputed that Mr. Nub’s conduct was disgusting, and there was also no dispute among all the parties that his conduct was, in fact, abusive toward the employees.

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Mr. Nub’s charming antics (seriously, what’s wrong with this guy?), however, did not stop there. On one particular occasion some of Mr. Nub’s crew members restrained one of the employees with duct-tape at which point, Mr. Nub punched said Plaintiff in the buttocks, with his nub extending between the Plaintiff’s buttocks and into the anal region. And on another occasion, Mr. Nub opened up his own coveralls, either rubbed his nub or pretended to rub it against his own genitals, and then had others restrain and pry open the mouth of one of the Plaintiff’s so that he could stick his nub into the Plaintiff’s mouth. In addition, Mr. Nub made his “nubbings” particularly demeaning, by telling the Plaintiff’s he was about to victimize to “Come on, bitch,” “Get loose, bitch,” and asking “Who’s your daddy?” or “Do you want to be my bitch?”

As a result of Mr. Nub’s truly disgusting conduct (if this guy is ever around, lock the women and children up, seriously), the employees ultimately brought suit against the employer alleging, in pertinent part, violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for discrimination based upon sex, sexual harassment, and hostile work environment.

To prevail on a Title VII sex discrimination claim, a plaintiff must show:

  1. they belong to a protected class;
  2. they were subject to unwelcome harassment;
  3. the harassment was based on sex;
  4. the harassment affected a “term, condition, or privilege” of employment; and
  5. their employer knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take prompt remedial action or the harassment was perpetrated by a supervising employee.

In this case, the employer argued, in pertinent part, that the employees’ sex discrimination claims must be dismissed because these employees could not establish the third element that “the harassment was based on sex.” In this regard, employer maintained that the employees could not show that they were harassed because they were male – i.e., “because-of-sex”. To this end, the employer asserted that because Mr. Nub, the manager, and all of the employees are male – and, moreover, that company’s entire workforce was comprised solely of men – that the employees could not establish their claims for sexual harassment. At issue before the Court, therefore, was whether claims for sexual harassment can be borne from same-sex harassment and while in a non-gender-diverse workplace.

In analyzing this issue, the Court began by pointing to three generally accepted evidentiary paths when same-sex harassment can amount to discrimination and can be actionable for claims of sexual harassment under Title VII as established in Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Servs., Inc.. The three generally accepted evidentiary paths are when:

(1) the harasser is homosexual (lesbian, gay, bisexual) and allegedly motivated by sexual interest;

(2) the victim’s harassment shows that the harasser is generally hostile toward employees of the same sex; or

(3) the harasser treats members of the different sexes in a disparate manner in a mixed-sex workplace.

While the employer successfully argued that none of the three scenarios applied to Mr. Nub, who was not gay or bisexual, and his disturbing conduct, the Court further pointed out that the trio of same-sex harassment scenarios listed above are not exclusive and that the Plaintiff’s were “entitled to advance alternative theories by which [Mr. Nub’s] admittedly sexual, vulgar, abusive, and even assaultive acts are discriminatory.” (I’ve been telling you, this guy reminds me of the less sophisticated Sling Blade type).

In consideration of the forgoing, the Court went on to find that while “[v]ulgar words, physical acts with sexual connotations, horseplay, and “locker room” behavior with explicit sexual components do not necessarily state a Title VII gender discrimination claim. . . and sexual harassment [typically] involves humiliation related to sexual desire. . . humiliation based on gender stereotyping meant to separate those who are deemed less manly from the rest of a crew [are also] actionable” under Title VII.

Thus for the reasons set forth above, employees were able to maintain their claims for Title VII discrimination based on sex, sexual harassment, and hostile work environment against Defendant and Mr. Nub.

Sexual harassment is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and similar Ohio laws. Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination. 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 (216) 291-4744 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At The Spitz 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 form of gender discrimination, and employers should be held accountable if they discriminate against female workers in any fashion – but particularly for sexual harrassment. It does not matter if you have been wrongfully fired or are still employed, there is no reason to wait to find out what your legal rights are and how to protect yourself from sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

Disclaimer:

The materials available at the top of this page and at this gender discrimination, wrongful termination, and sex harassment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking “what should I do …”, “I’m being sexually harassed …” “my supervisor grabbed my…”, “my boss is touching…,” “I’ve been wrongfully terminated,” or “how do I …”, your best course is to 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 the top of this page or through this employment law website are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.