Where do people get their ideas about what to do after doing something illegal? It's almost like someone's out there giving horrible advice to people such as, "If you commit a crime, the best thing to do is commit another one," or "Threats make witnesses go away."
Whatever the case may be, Donald Ballard, night manager of a Waffle House in Slidell, La., made matters worse when he allegedly texted a picture of his penis to employee Charmaine Anderson, and then threatened to stab her if she reported it, according to Courthouse News Service. Ballard also allegedly pressured other waitresses to have sex with him, and asked one particular waitress if he could pay to have sex with her, according to Anderson's sexual harassment lawsuit.
What chances does Anderson have with her case?
Anderson has both a sexual harassment claim and a retaliation claim. The retaliation claim is based on the fact that after she complained about the harassment, Ballard was transferred and she was fired, according to the lawsuit.
A sexual harassment claim can be based on either a quid pro quo or hostile work environment basis. A quid pro quo situation occurs when an employer requires a sexual relationship in order to promote or retain an employee.
A hostile work environment happens when there are sexually offensive actions taken in a workplace that are so pervasive as to make it unbearable to be at work. Examples of this include constant sexual jokes or repeated requests for sex from co-workers.
If you report sexual harassment and are fired or demoted because of it, it is called retaliation. Even if your claims are not true, employers can be liable if they fire you for making the complaint in the first place.
So as long as Charmaine Anderson can show that the harassment in the restaurant was as pervasive her lawsuit claims, it is likely that she will be successful. Even if her only proof is that Ballard texted a picture of his penis, she might be successful because of the offensiveness of that action.
If you're placed in a similarly uncomfortable situation at work, there are ways to make sure workplace harassment does not continue. You can contact an experienced Houston employment lawyer or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to see what your options are.
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