The case is about a widower, Mr. Peter Lewiston, who becomes attracted to a married woman, Mrs. Beverly Gilbury. Mrs Beverly happens to be Mr. Peter's colleague at work (Snell and Bohlander 135-136). Lewiston and Gilbury had worked together at the Pine Circle Unified District School (PCUDS) for six years and their relationship as workmates was unquestionable according to those around them (Snell and Bohlander 135). Lewiston lost his wife a year after Gilbury joined the PCUDS as a teacher where Lewiston worked as a senior maintenance officer (Snell and Bohlander 135). After around six years of relating with Gilbury and about five years after losing his wife, Lewiston started to express his feelings towards Gilbury through romantic acts such as buying her rose flowers, romantic cards and asking her out for lunch (Snell and Bohlander 135). Gilbury often declined Lewiston’s lunch offer though she accepted the flowers and love notes from him (Snell and Bohlander 135). Unfortunately, she interpreted Peter's continued persistence as sexual harassment (Snell and Bohlander 135-136). She was able to secure a court injunction to restrain Lewiston from coming close. However, the injunction was dropped as she did not appear in court (Snell and Bohlander 136). She also reported the matter to the district’s EEOC for which an investigation concluded that Lewiston’s actions amounted to sexual harassment and thus had his employment terminated by the governing board of PCUDS (Snell and Bohlander 135-136).
Lewiston’s acts were driven by affection and not just intent to exploit Mrs. Gilbury. However, he knew that she was a married woman and unable to respond to his fantasies (Snell and Bohlander 135). Lewiston’s persistence to seduce an unwilling Gilbury made the EEOC to conclude that his acts were a form of sexual harassment.
In my opinion, irrespective of what his intention was, it was wrong to act in such a manner to a married person. It is not abnormal to develop romantic feelings for someone. Nonetheless, it is not necessary to persistently express such feelings if the concerned party is married to someone else.
I agree with the findings that Lewiston acts were indeed a form of sexual harassment on Gilbury as she had made it clear to him that she was not going to give up her marriage to him and that she was happy in her marriage (Snell and Bohlander 135). On the other hand, I would also reprimand Mrs. Gilbury on her continued receipt of flowers from Lewiston. Accepting flowers and love cards, in my opinion, gave Lewiston false hope. Relieving Mr. Lewiston of his duties would not have been an option in my judgment. Instead, I would ensure the securing of an enforceable distance between the two of them to avoid the repetition of such acts.
Snell, Scott A. and George W. Bohlander. Managing Human Resources. 16th. Mason Ohio: Cengage Learning, 2012.