Florida Sexual Harassment and Hostile Work Environment Case

On February 20, 2018, the Middle District of Florida federal court ruled on a motion to dismiss filed by the defendants in this Florida sexual harassment and hostile work environment case.  (See Robinson v. Hill, 2018 WL 962199, (M.D. Fl. 2018)).  The female plaintiff worked as a manager for one of the defendant corporations.  She began in mid-2016.  Then over an eighteen-day period, she was repeatedly and regularly sexually harassed.  She alleges that she was asked for sexual favors and had sexual comments said to her constantly.

On one occasion, the manager of one of the co-defendants asked her to go with her on a boat ride that the company owned.  During that boat ride, the manager attacked her and even put a finger into her vagina.  After that incident, this female manager never returned to work.  She then filed her Florida sexual harassment and hostile work environment case.

The plaintiff in her Florida sexual harassment and hostile work environment Complaint in Count I alleged sexual harassment, assault and battery under the Jones Act.  The Court upheld this count basically stating that it remained a question of fact for a jury to resolve on whether or not she the female manager qualified as a seaman.

The plaintiff in Counts II and II alleged Intentional or Reckless Infliction of Severe Motion Distress.  The court found that the allegations alleged did meet the standard.  Plaintiff did allege the deliberate or reckless infliction of mental suffering, by outrageous conduct, causing suffering, and the suffering must have been severe.  The allegation of vaginal penetration clearly satisfied this.

The plaintiff in Counts IV and V alleged battery and support and asked that the corporations be found liable for the intentional tortious acts of the other manager under the theory of respondent superior.  This court agreed with the allegations as alleged.  The manager who allegedly committed these horrible acts in this Florida sexual harassment and hostile work environment case did so while he was employed; servicing his employer.

Finally, in Counts VI and VII, the plaintiff alleged hostile work environment under Title VII and sexual discrimination under Florida Civil Rights Act.  Plaintiff must prove that

1) she belongs to a protected group,

2) that the employee has been subject to unwelcome sexual harassment,

3) that the harassment must have been based on the sex of the employee,

4) that the harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the terms and conditions of employment and create a discriminatorily abusive working environment, and

5) a basis for holding the employer liable.

The defendants make a Faragher defense claiming that the manager was not a supervisor or successively higher authority over the employee.  The Court did not agree and denied their motion for this reason as to these counts.

There were other counts in this Florida sexual harassment and hostile work environment case, but they are not as relevant as the court granted leave to amend them.   The female plaintiff was then subjected to many horrible sexual acts at work that no one should have to put up with.

If you have been the subject of a Florida sexual harassment and hostile work environment discrimination case, please call and speak to South Florida pregnancy discrimination lawyer Andrew Alitowski, Esq., the South Florida Managing Partner for the Derek Smith Law Group, located in Downtown Miami, at 305-898-8198 or contact us online. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.