There are many sexual harassment cases, but this one, Malphurs v. Cooling Tower Systems, Inc., really caught my attention: The plaintiff claimed that the owner of the company often made her work late so that he could sexually harass her when they were alone. These late hours were overtime, but the owner allegedly refused to pay the employee for this overtime unless she gave in to his sexual demands.
Talk about adding insult to injury! Not only was the poor employee subjected to sexual harassment, but she wasn’t even being paid for the time that she was being sexually harassed! So she sued the owner under the Fair Labor Standards Act for failure to pay overtime, and also under the state anti-discrimination law for sexual harassment.
The actual legal issue in the court’s decision was whether the federal court should hear the state law harassment claims in conjunction with the federal overtime claim. Normally, if there’s no connection between the claims, the employee would be required to bring two separate lawsuits – one in federal court for the federal claim and one in state court for the state claims. In this case, however, the court found that the two claims were factually connected, and could properly be heard in a single lawsuit in federal court.
But (not-so-interesting) legal issue aside, it seems pretty obvious that if a supervisor is going to be dumb enough to harass an employee after normal work hours, at least pay the employee for that time! At 1 and 1/2 times their regular rate of pay, please!