Prevention Of Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
Q: I need reccomendations for attorneys in Oklahoma City to represent a client
in a sexual harrassment suit there.
A: Go to the Martindale-Hubbell legal directory at the following site. http://lawyers.martindale.com/marhub/form/by.html It is pretty self-explanatory, fill in the search boxes for subject area and geographic area and let it fly. For the subject area, there will be listings of attorneys with practices that include labor, employment and civil rights as well as sexual harassment. Look for experience, but don't be so specific that you narrow yourself down to zero. For what it's worth, in the area of sexual harassment, the Supreme Court issued four decisions in that area during the last term of the Court alone. Not only was it a large amount for a single subject area, but the content was pretty significant as well. You should go to an academic law library and look at the following before meeting with your lawyer; first for your own knowledge and preparation, and secondly to assess how current the lawyer is in the field. Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, 118 S. Ct. 998. This was male-on-male harassment, but the real significance was that Justice Scalia recognized in the opinion a potential defense of "horseplay" or what he termed "innocent flirtation". Burlington Industries v. Ellerth, 118 S.Ct. 2257 (1998), and Faragher v. City of Boca Raton , 118 S.Ct. 2275 (1998). In these consolidated cases, Justice Souter wrote that the purpose of their decision was to move away from a remedial approach towards one that emphasizes prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace. Once a case of "hostile environment" sexual harassment has been shown, an employer's affirmative defenses are limited and must show (1). that the employer had taken steps to reasonably prevent and correct such behavior through supervisor training and grievance procedures, and (2). the plaintiff/employee unreasonably failed unreasonably to utilize the grievance procedures in order to avoid the harm. If both steps cannot be shown, liability will follow. To see how prior cases defined "hostile environment" see: Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson 106 S.Ct.2399 (1986) and Harris v. Forklift Systems, 114 S.Ct. 367 (1993).