So now California employers can be sued for conveying a message that the only way to get ahead in the company is to perform sexual favors for the boss, i.e. the casting couch. The deciding case involves 2 female employees of the California Department of Corrections who felt that the prison “accorded unwarranted favorable treatment to numerous female employees with whom the warden was having sexual affairs” and sued under FEHA (Fair Employment and Housing Act). And the California Supreme Court agreed with them.
For the reasons explained below, we conclude that, although an isolated instance of favoritism on the part of a supervisor toward a female employee with 2 whom the supervisor is conducting a consensual sexual affair ordinarily would not constitute sexual harassment, when such sexual favoritism in a workplace is sufficiently widespread it may create an actionable hostile work environment in which the demeaning message is conveyed to female employees that they are viewed by management as â€œsexual playthingsâ€ or that the way required for women to get ahead in the workplace is by engaging in sexual conduct with their supervisors or the management. We further conclude that, contrary to the Court of Appealâ€™s determination, the evidence presented in the summary judgment proceedings was sufficient to establish a prima facie case of sexual harassment under the appropriate legal standard, and thus that the Court of Appeal erred in affirming the trial courtâ€™s grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants. Accordingly, we shall reverse the judgment rendered by the Court of Appeal.
Just proves that an HR professional’s work is never done…