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The main issue in this case is whether or not there is sexual harassment amounting to a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is alleged by Molly, an employee of three (3) years with Widgets that she was subject to sexual harassment during the course of her employment. On the other hand, Talbot, the person accused, denies any involvement. Widget fired Molly on the ground that she abused her personal and sick leave amounting to abandonment of her employment thus giving them just cause for the termination of her employment.
From these facts, it must be stated that Molly does not have a claim. While Title VII is clear in that it punishes and makes unlawful any act of the employer that is discriminatory against an individual due to the personal characteristics of the individual such as color, race, religion, sex or national origin, it does not punish acts of sexual harassment. The allegations of Molly, while definitely something that can be prosecuted under the Sexual Harassment Law, these do not constitute violations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law is clear that in order to fall under Title VII the acts complained of (Sexual Harassment) must be the grounds for the dismissal of the employee. Although the ruling in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson allows for a claim to be filed, the Supreme Court ruled that there are certain exceptions and not every act of sexual harassment is covered. In this case, the cause for dismissal was the excessive use of personal and sick leave.
The defense of Widget in this case falls under the application of the law. Title VII covers all the aspects of employment, hiring, firing, promotions and all workplace conduct. In this case, the firing of Molly was not for any sexually related act or discrimination but for work place abuses that were found to be excessive. There is also no indication that Talbot was in any way responsible for the firing of Molly and neither was he involved in the decision making process. As such, Widget can claim the defense that there is no violation of Title VII and that there is no basis for the allegations of Molly.
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