Video Camera in an Employee Restroom Sexual Harassment
This case involves an East Texas dentist who placed a video camera in an employee restroom used by the clinic’s female employees. One of the female employees discovered the video camera and quit. Because the perpetrator was the owner, manager, and supervisor it was not necessary that the employer be given notice nor an opportunity to correct the situation.Sexual Harassment Causes of Action
The employee filed a lawsuit alleging that the placement of the video camera in the female employees’ restroom constituted an intentional infliction of emotion distress, a violation of her constitutional right to privacy, and created a hostile work environment. The Defendant alleged that because the female employee was unaware of the video camera while she was being videotaped in the bathroom that it did not create a hostile work environment. The trial court concluded that regardless of the offensive nature of the conduct or the employee’s reaction or feelings upon discovering the camera that if the employee was unaware of the conduct while it was taking place that it did not create a hostile work environment as a matter of law and dismissed the hostile work environment claim.
The case proceeded based upon the intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of right to privacy allegations. In light of the nature of the dentist’s misconduct the female employee sought counseling expenses, mental anguish damages, and punitive damages.Sexual Harassment Insurance
While large corporations often have sexual harassment insurance covering the misconduct of the officers, directors, managers and owners it is not uncommon for small businesses and professional offices to be uninsured regarding sexual harassment claims making the claims difficult to resolve. However, because these claims constitute intentional torts making them very difficult to discharge in bankruptcy the Defendants are often motivated to settle the claims even if doing so means that the settlement will come from corporate or even personal funds.
The parties in our case were ordered to mediate the case and the matter was resolved for a substantial confidential settlement at mediation.
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