Friday, February 8, 2008

Looking At A Woman's Breasts Can Create A Hostile Environment.

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that a federal jury should be allowed to consider a lawsuit brought by a female secretary against the Grafton, Massachusetts town administrator in which she complained that her boss created a hostile work environment by frequently staring at her breasts, a federal appeals court ruled today.
The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV erred when he sided with the town and the retired town administrator, Russell J. Connor Jr., and dismissed the suit by Nancy M. Billings on the defendants' motion for summary judgment.

The three-member appeals court panel said that Billings' suit had raised serious claims of sexual harassment, including that Connor had created a hostile work environment by staring at the breasts of several town employees and had retaliated against Billings for complaining to the board of selectmen by transferring her to another municipal job.
"Taken in the light most favorable to Billings, the evidence depicts a supervisor who regularly stared at her breasts for much of the two and a half years they worked together," the appeals court said in its 42-page decision.
"Based on these and other aspects of Billings's response to Connor's alleged staring, we disagree with the defendants that no reasonable jury could conclude that the staring unreasonably interfered with her work performance or altered the terms and conditions of her employment as a matter of law," the appeals court added.
The appeals court said that a hostile work environment is an imprecise term under federal law but that it need not include touching, sexual advances or overtly sexual comments.
"We cannot reasonably accept...that a man's repeated staring at a woman's breasts is to be ordinarily understood as anything other than sexual," the court said.
Connor retired as town administrator in February 2006. The court referred the case back to Saylor, allowing the suit to proceed.


ichbinalj said...

Female employees can wear any type of clothing that they choose to work, including halter tops, see-through blouses, and plunging neck lines.
An employer supervisor may not prescribe a conservative dress code, and he may not look at a woman's breasts for longer than a reasonable period of time defined by the pequliar quirks of the woman with the breasts.
Looking is all that is necessary to constitute an offense. It is not necessary to touch or to refer to the breasts in any manner. Any comment of whatever nature, even one completely devoid of sexual inuendo, will only serve to aggrevate the offense.
Supervisors are cautioned to keep their eyes situated on some inanimate object in the vacinity and to keep their thoughts and comments to themselves. Then and only then can they be reasonably assured of not offending any woman with breasts.
That way they may avoid a large monetary penalty plus attorneys fees.

ichbinalj said...

Mr. Bumble had little use for judicial reasoning. In Dickens' Oliver Twist, he put it rather bluntly: "'If the law supposes that', said Mr. Bumble, 'the law is a ass — a idiot.'"