The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments this Wednesday that will determine if employers should be held responsible in court when an employee’s supervisor sexually harasses a worker, and if they should be financially responsible if they did not know about the harassment.
Beth Ann Faragher, a 32-year-old Denver public defender, sued her harassers and the city of Boca Raton, Florida, for sexual harassment she suffered while working as a city-employed ocean lifeguard. Faragher won a total of $10,500 from the men, but only $1 from the city. Faragher claimed the city had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans sexual harassment that creates a “hostile work environment.”
Faragher and the city appealed the decision. City defense lawyer Stephen Bokat said, “This case is going to be one of the key sex harassment cases, not only of this term but for many years because it raises an issue that arises again and again and again.”
Farahger’s lawyer, William R. Amlong, said that he hopes the decision will force employers to be more responsible. “What (employers) have to do is make clear to everybody from the CEO to the parking lot attendant that this company has a zero tolerance (for sexual harassment).”