The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position as trial approaches. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.
(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this sexual harassment case and its proceedings.)
DEFENDANTS’ TRIAL BRIEF
Plaintiff Gabrielle Hill’s (“Hill”) Complaint never should have been filed. Though she has sued her gay, former friend and boss defendant Randy Lee (“Lee”) and his company, Randy Lee Artists Collective (“RLAC”), for sexual harassment based almost entirely on Lee’s use of vulgar speech, the evidence shows that his speech was not directed at or about her, that Lee was Hill’s close personal friend, that she had expressed love for Lee and referred to him as “sweetie,” “doll,” and “sunshine,” that she regularly socialized and vacationed with him, and that she herself used vulgar language (including the words “cunt,” “cock,” and “bitch”), and Hill talked about sex (and her boyfriend’s penis size) around Lee (and even sent Lee a video of completely naked men dancing with their pensises exposed). For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
Based on these facts and many others like them – most of which are undisputed – Hill will be unable to establish each of the necessary elements of a claim for unlawful harassment: (1) that she was subjected to unwelcome and offensive speech or conduct, (2) because she is a woman, and (3) that such speech or conduct was so severe or pervasive that it altered the conditions of Hill’s employment and created a hostile work environment. Furthermore, to the extent that Hill seeks to base her claim on speech that was not even directed at her — for example, Lee’s conversation with his female friends — her claim must be dismissed based on the right of free speech guaranteed Lee by First Amendment of the United States Constitution and its California counterpart, article I, section 2 of the California Constitution (hereafter collectively the “First Amendment”).
Hill’s other claims fair no better. Hill cannot prove gender discrimination without evidence that she suffered an adverse employment action because of her gender. If anything, the evidence shows that Hill was treated better than her male co-workers.
She, and not they, vacationed with the boss (Lee), and was taken to dinner (sometimes with clients) almost every night. Ultimately, Lee terminated Hill’s performance not because she is a woman, but because she was being paid approximately $131,500.00 per year as an agent, but was unable to close any deals or bring in any revenues (and, what work she did do, was unsatisfactory, including a significant error at the end of her employment).
As to Hill’s retaliation claims, Hill admits that she never even complained to Lee. And there is no evidence that Hill complained to anyone else or that anyone else conveyed to Lee that Hill had lodged some kind of protest. Since Lee did not know of any complaint or other protected activity, it is axiomatic that his decisions could not have been motivated by retaliatory animus.
Finally, Hill has no evidence of any contract either that she could only be terminated for cause or that she would be paid deferred compensation (severance) upon her termination. (See Part 2 of 10.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.