insurancedefense

Court of Appeals Decision Reverses Trial Court Dismissal of Sexual Harassment Case in Matter Handled by Attorney Jason Lee

The Tennessee Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of a sexual harassment case by the trial court in a matter that was handled by Attorney Jason Lee.  The trial court ruled that the sexual harassment case could not proceed because the sexual harassment was not “in the workplace” due to the fact it occurred at a work Halloween party, after hours.   Burrow Lee, PLLC decided to appeal this ruling because the sexual harassment and sexual assault events were still significantly tied to the workplace and a narrow interpretation of Tennessee Law on this issue was not appropriate.  The Tennessee Court of Appeals agreed with the legal position we set forth in argument and by briefing.  The Tennessee Court of Appeals ultimately ruled, in a very important and extensive sexual harassment opinion, as follows:

Considering the totality of the circumstances, we hold that there is a sufficient nexus between the workplace and the harassment for a reasonable trier of fact to conclude that the sexual assaults perpetrated against Plaintiff, and the work situation that followed in the next few months, “affected a term, condition, or privilege of [her] employment.” Campbell, 919 S.W.2d at 31; Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-21-401(a)(1). A number of applicable actors favor this conclusion: the close proximity in space and time to the traditional workplace; the pressure applied to employees to attend; the roster of attendees at both parties, showing a great majority or entirety of employees; the sponsorship by Defendant of the party, including its provision of alcoholic beverages and encouragement to buy and drink them; Plaintiff’s testimony that the after-party was a “continuation” of the State sponsored party; and, as the trial court found, the “evidence that Josh Walsh sexually abused women at Paris Landing State Park prior to the Halloween party” and the “genuine dispute as to whether Defendant knew about all of Walsh’s behavior before the Halloween party.” See, e.g., Hawkins v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 517 F.3d 321, 341 (6th Cir. 2008) (“An employer’s responsibility to prevent future harassment is heightened where it is dealing with a known serial harasser and is therefore on clear notice that the same employee has engaged in inappropriate behavior in the past”). We vacate the trial court’s summary judgment against Plaintiff on her THRA discrimination and sexual harassment claims.

The entire Tennessee Court of Appeals ruling can be found here: https://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/phelps.kelly_.opn_.pdf

The YouTube video for the oral arguments on appeal can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhwHSuV9paI

employmentlaw

$170,000.00+ settlement reached in significant Sexual Harassment case

Attorney Jason A. Lee settled a longstanding sexual harassment case that has been in litigation for several years.  His client was sexually assaulted at a work event and then the employer mishandled the sex harassment investigation.  We had to litigate this case hard due to the failure of the employer to take responsibility for their actions.  The client review for this work was the following:

I was sexually assaulted by a supervisor during my employment for a large corporation. I made a claim afterward and filed all the proper paper work with HR. I was left in the dark feeling discouraged and unheard after months of working in what became a hostel work environment. I felt the need to reach out for some legal advice to see if this was proper protocol not really realizing legal advice was exactly what I NEEDED! Making the choice to contact Jason Lee was one of the best things I’ve ever done. There are no words that can truly express my gratitude for the trust he instilled back into me after everything I experienced. We had our first conversation over the phone and immediately I was 100% convinced that Jason’s compassion and knowledge would give me the strength to fight for what I know is right. Within days he started working and things started changing. Finally I started feeling heard! Let me just say never did I imagine how hard he would fight for me, but over the last few years he has stood in my corner so here I am praising the rock I needed to stay strong through it all, Jason Lee was that rock! The whole process was one of the scariest thing I have dealt with in my adult life, and Jason was always informative, compassionate, and sensitive to how I felt about every step. Myself being a woman reporting sexual harassment and my own experience calling a Male attorney made me very uneasy at first but Mr. Lee brought back trust for me that I thought was lost.

I know it can be very intimidating for anyone to just take the first steps in reporting sexual harassment but I would like to think I made a difference by standing up for myself and hopefully helping others along the way.

Forever I will be grateful for making that phone call to get some advice! I would recommend calling Jason to anyone seeking sexually harassment help he is professional, and easy to talk too, you won’t regret it.

Reach out to Attorney Jason Lee if you have any questions on sexual harassment or sexual assault.  Let him help you through the situation.