Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Thursday, May 28, 2009

2d holds Assertion that men have propensity to harass was invidious sex stereotyping

Here is an interesting one. In Sassaman v Gamache, Dutchess County Bd of Elections and Dutchess County, ___F.3d___(2d Cir. May 22, 2009), the 2d Circuit held that a male employee who was charged by a coworker with sexual harassment provided sufficient evidence to make out a prima facie case of discrimination against his employer based on sex stereotyping, including his supervisor’s statement that men have a propensity to commit sexual harassment and his employer’s failure to properly investigate the charges lodged against him.

The plaintiff employee was told he would be terminated unless he chose to resign. Remarkably, his supervisor told him, “you probably did what she said you did because you’re male and nobody would believe you anyway.” The district court discounted the comment as a stray remark, but the Second Circuit disagreed. The employer’s claim that it feared a lawsuit by the accuser did not justify reliance on sex stereotypes to shortcut its investigation, discriminating against the accused employee in the process.

Sometimes you just cannot make these cases up.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Employment Discrimination | Permalink

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