Office Worker Suffers Repeated Sexual Harassment

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on April 11, 2018

Human Resources Expert WitnessThis case takes place in Florida and involves sexual harassment of an employee in the corporate offices of a large office supply company. Beginning shortly after she was first hired as an administrative assistant, the plaintiff’s supervisor repeatedly made remarks of a sexual nature to her, all of which she discouraged and asked him to stop. After a few months of this behavior, the employee’s supervisor began inappropriately touching the Plaintiff on the pretext of performing work activities. Defendant continued the offensive behavior for several months until on one occasion, he took the plaintiff to a conference room, shut the door, grabbed her from behind, and pressed his genital area against her. the plaintiff fought back and physically resisted his advances. Thereafter, the supervisor’s behavior changed. he became angry and treated the Plaintiff with contempt, giving her very difficult work assignments, such that other employees noticed and asked why he was treating her so badly. The plaintiff eventually reported the defendants behavior to his supervisor, who called for a meeting between the two. At this meeting the defendant’s supervisor accused the plaintiff of lying. They were told to “work things out” and was left alone together where the supervisor threatened the plaintiff. Shortly after this event, the plaintiff was fired from the company.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please discuss your background in human resources as described in the case summary?
  • 2. What is the standard protocol when an employee reports sexual harassment by another employee?
  • 3. What could be done to avoid such behavior from occurring at the workplace?

Expert Witness Response E-015992

I have over thirty years of experience as a human resources professional and I have certification as both a senior professional in Human Resources and a Senior Certified Professional. I have also been involved in numerous harassment cases over the years that included a sexual harassment case in which I gave a deposition in preparation for a trial. This was in connection with my role as a former employer. I have also taught HR at New York Institute of Technology, and HR Certification Review classes. Once sexual harassment is reported to a manager or to Human Resources, a thorough investigation should be conducted. This investigation will involve the employee, the supervisor, and any witnesses to the incidents. A couple of ways to avoid this type of activity in the workplace include sexual harassment training for employees and supervisors, and a hotline for confidential complaints could be set up for employees to be able to report these types of issues.

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