Civil Rights: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace under 42 U.S.C. § 1983

CZW successfully defended the Comanche County Board of County  Commissioners in the recent case of Tilghman v. Board of County Commissioners for Comanche County, et al.  A former employee of the Comanche County Commissioners brought claims against the Board for sexual harassment under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and for a sexually hostile work environment and retaliation under the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma granted summary judgment to the Board, finding that the Plaintiff had failed to establish either a sexually hostile work environment or actionable retaliation. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s holding, finding that the Board was entitled to the Faragher/Ellerth defense on all claims of sexual harassment because that the Board had taken reasonable means to prevent and promptly correct sexual harassment, and that the Plaintiff unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the Board.  Moreover, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s holding that the Board’s policies and procedures were not the moving force behind any alleged sexual harassment. Finally, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s holding that Plaintiff had not established actionable retaliation. For complete opinion, click here.