Sexual Harassment Case Summary

Introduction Sexual harassment can occur in several different forms within the workplace, but the type which tends to cause the most controversy is what Pynes calls “hostile environment harassment” (Pynes, 2013). Cases involving this form of harassment can be difficult for human resource departments to effectively deal with because defining what constitutes a “hostile environment” can be open to interpretation. However, the official statement from the EEOC defines it as “verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when…such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment” (Pynes, 2013).
In this case study,
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He also argued that because he was not the direct supervisor of any of the women who had made complaints, he could not be accused of sexual harassment as he had no authority over them and did not make any inappropriate proposals. Furthermore, it was his position that none of the evidence showed that he had created a hostile working environment for any of the female employees.
Bryan’s lawyers were able to contact several of his coworkers, both male and female, who all verified that Bryan would often need to stand closer to them during conversations because of his hearing impairment and would sometimes place his hands on them to make sure that he could clearly understand every word they said; none of these witnesses believed that his touching constituted inappropriate behavior that could be construed as sexual harassment. Other witnesses corroborated his claims that his cultural background played a role in his natural inclination to touch others during conversations stating that he touched both males and females in a non-sexual nature, and that it was common in this workplace for employees
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His actions showed a clear lack of regard for the cultural and generational perspectives of his coworkers, and it was unprofessional of him to place his own values and beliefs ahead of others. His defense is particularly flimsy when one considers that he had been employed in the same workplace since 1979; even if there were cultural and generational differences to begin with, he should have adjusted to the culture of his workplace after twenty

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