This is an excerpt from Case Studies in Sport Law 3rd Edition epub by Andrew T. Pittman,John O. Spengler & Sarah J. Young.
Title VII, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was passed to address employment discrimination in both public and private settings. It applies to employers with 15 or more employees working at least 20 calendar weeks whose organizations affect interstate commerce. It was amended with passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which established a Glass Ceiling Commission and Glass Ceiling Initiative. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination in any employment activity on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. There are four theories of liability: individual disparate treatment, systematic disparate treatment, disparate impact, and retaliation. There are several defenses: bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ; race and color are never BFOQ), business necessity, affirmative action, and court-ordered remedies.
Burlington v. Ellerth is a 1998 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that supported Ellerth’s allegations that Burlington Industries engaged in sexual harassment and forced her constructive discharge in violation of Title VII.
Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth
524 U.S. 742 (1998)
This suit is brought by an employee who suffered no adverse job consequences because of alleged sexual harassment by a supervisor. Yet she alleged in her Title VII suit that the sexual harassment forced her constructive discharge.
Respondent Kimberly Ellerth quit her job after 15 months as a salesperson in one of petitioner Burlington Industries’ divisions, allegedly because she had been subject to constant sexual harassment by Ted Slowik, one of her supervisors. Slowik was a mid-level manager who had authority to hire and promote employees, subject to higher approval, but he was not considered a policy-maker.
Against a background of repeated boorish and offensive remarks and gestures allegedly made by Slowik, Ellerth places particular emphasis on three incidents where Slowik’s comments could be construed as threats to deny her tangible job benefits.