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7th Circuit: Man failed to show sexual harassment

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a District Court's ruling in favor a man on his retaliation claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, finding the man didn't believe his supervisor's advances and threats were illegal.

In Alshafi Tate v. Executive Management Services, Inc., No. 07-2575, Executive Management Services appealed the District Court's ruling in Alshafi Tate's favor in his retaliation claim. Tate filed a suit against EMS, alleging sexual harassment and retaliation after he claims he was fired for not continuing a sexual relationship with his supervisor, Dawn Burban.

But Tate didn't engage in any protected activity, as required under Title VII, when he told Burban he didn't want to continue their sexual relationship to keep his job. To engage in protected conduct, Tate only has to show that he "reasonably believed in good faith that the practice he opposed violated Title VII," wrote Judge Ann Claire Williams. The 7th Circuit hasn't ruled on the issue of whether a person who rejects a supervisor's sexual advances has engaged in a protected activity. But even if the court assumes there may be circumstances in which a person who rejects his or her supervisor's sexual advances has engaged in protected activity, Tate failed to show he believed that Burban's actions were unlawful, Judge Williams continued.

Tate didn't make statements that indicated he believed he was being sexually harassed, and any statements he did make pointed to personal reasons for ending the relationship with Burban rather than concerns about the legality of her behavior.

"We do not dispute that Tate protested about Burban's behavior; the problem is that he did not necessarily believe that her behavior was illegal at the time," wrote Judge Williams. "While there are no 'magic words' that a plaintiff must use in order to indicate that the supervisor's behavior is unlawful ... the record is devoid of any statements that indicate sexual harassment was at issue."

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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