The case presents a fairly simple situation of sexual harassment. The victim in this case is Kimberly Ellerth while the villain is her boss at Burlington, Ted Slowik. This paper shall consider two main questions. These are whether Burlington is responsible for the behavior of its employees even without knowledge of their conduct and secondly what steps or behaviors could have prevented a law suit.
It is this paper’s position that Burlington is indeed responsible for the behavior of its employees. The ignorance of these behaviors does not waive the liability. This is essentially based on Title VII which prohibits discrimination. The onus on the victim is to prove the offence and the employer retains the burden of proving that the action did not occur or if it occurred, it did not necessarily amount to discrimination. Title VII does not allow the employer to discharge their liability by claiming ignorance of the actions by employees.
Secondly, Burlington could have pursued a number of steps to prevent a lawsuit. Foremost, it should have offered an alternative dispute resolution mechanism where the employee grievances and violated rights are settled outside the court system. This approach would have befitted the case of Kimberly Ellerth. Alternative dispute resolution could assume different forms such as arbitration, negotiation and mediation among the parties at loggerheads. In this case, the aim would be to reconcile the victim Ellerth and the villain Slowik. Alternatively, Burlington ought to have engaged Ellerth directly and offered her compensation. This could have been pursued through creating an internal compensation system based on the already existing organizational policy on sexual harassment. Through this method, the employee harassment case would have been solved with Burlington acting as the umpire.
Alexander , D., & Hartman, L. (2008). Employment Law for Business. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
Arthur, W., Doverspike, D., Barret, G., & Miguel, R. (2013). Chasing the Title VII Holy Grail: The Pitfalls of Guaranteeing Adverse Impact Elimination. Journal of Business and Psychology, 32-43.