In a setback to protections against sexual harassment in the workplace the California Supreme Court has ruled that victims of sexual harassment cannot sue their harasser who is not their supervisor, although they can sue their employer for failing to intervene.
Maryann Carrisales, a warehouse supervisor at the Chino state prison, Carrisales filed a suit accusing a fellow supervisor of verbally and physically harassing her. The Court declared that state law does not permit a harassment suit against a co-worker who was not a supervisor.
Kathleen Slosuy, the defendant’s attorney, claimed that the ruling ought to reduce sexual harassment in the workplace by putting into place “stricter or better policies from the employer.”
Carrisales’s attorney, William Quackenbush, said that the ruling leaves some victims with no recourse “no matter how severe the harassment” if the harassment is by a co-worker rather than a supervisor.