ILNews

7th Circuit: Man failed to show sexual harassment

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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."

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  2. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

  3. So this firebrand GOP Gov was set free by a "unanimous Supreme Court" , a court which is divided, even bitterly, on every culture war issue. WHAT A RESOUNDING SLAP in the Virginia Court's face! How bad must it have been. And all the journalists, lap dogs of the status quo they are, can do is howl that others cannot be railroaded like McDonald now??? Cannot reflect upon the ruining of Winston and Julia's life and love? (Oh I forget, the fiction at this Ministry of Truth is that courts can never err, and when they do, and do greatly, as here, why then it must be ignored, since it does not compute.)

  4. My daughter is a addict and my grandson was taken by DCS and while in hospital for overdose my daughter was told to sign papers from DCS giving up her parental rights of my grandson to the biological father's mom and step-dad. These people are not the best to care for him and I was never called or even given the chance to take him, but my daughter had given me guardianship but we never went to court to finalize the papers. Please I have lost my daughter and I dont want to lose my grandson as well. I hope and look forward to speaking with you God Bless and Thank You for all of your help

  5. To Bob- Goooooood, I'm glad you feel that way! He's alive and happy and thriving and out and I'm his woman and we live in West Palm Beach Florida, where his parents have a sprawling estate on an exclusive golf course......scum bag

ADVERTISEMENT