There are two forms of sexual harassment: quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile work environment sexual harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employer alters an employee's job conditions as a result of the employee's refusal to submit to sexual demands. Hostile environment sexual harassment occurs when an employer's conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Where sexual harassment is sufficiently pervasive so as to alter the conditions of employment and create an abusive working environment, a Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000(e) et seq., claim is made out irrespective of whether the complainant suffers tangible job detriment.
Plaintiff employee brought an action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000(e) et seq., as a result of defendant former employers creating a hostile work environment. She alleged that defendants made blatantly sexual advances to her virtually from her first day at work until her last. Plaintiff also sought relief under the Federal Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), as amended, 29 U.S.C.S. § 201 et seq., and several pendent state law claims of battery, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment. The district court awarded the plaintiff compensatory and punitive damages but failed to find a violation of FLSA. Plaintiff was also awarded damages for her pendent state law claims and was advised, by the court, of her entitlement to reasonable attorney's fees under 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000e-5(k).
Could plaintiff employee seek relief against defendant former employers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000(e) et seq., for sexual harassment and constructive discharge for creating a hostile work environment?
There was substantial and credible evidence that defendant employers subjected plaintiff employee to a pervasively hostile work environment marked by repeated and explicit sexual advances. However, plaintiff was not entitled to compensation for recovery under the FLSA, since insufficient evidence was adduced on the issue.