The 7th Circuit, in reversing the lower court's grant of summary judgment on the hostile work environment claim, held:
With respect to Carmichael’s actions, however, BerryIn ruling that the employer was liable for Carmichael's actions, they noted how Berry presented facts to show that the supervisor she complained to, Michael Gorman, made insensitive statements and potentially sabotaged the investigation regarding the incident. Thus, this case is also another lesson for employers on training managers and supervisors on how to handle these types of complaints and what not to say to a person complaining of sexually harassing conduct.
has provided enough evidence to allow her hostile work
environment claim to go forward. As the district court
noted, a single act can create a hostile environment if
it is severe enough, Lapka v. Chertoff, 517 F.3d 974, 983
(7th Cir. 2008); Hostetler v. Quality Dining, Inc., 218 F.3d
798, 808 (7th Cir. 2000), and instances of uninvited
physical contact with intimate parts of the body are
among the most severe types of sexual harassment, see
Patton v. Keystone RV Co., 455 F.3d 812, 816 (7th Cir.
2006); Worth v. Tyer, 276 F.3d 249, 268 (7th Cir. 2001);
Baskerville v. Culligan Int’l Co., 50 F.3d 428, 430 (7th Cir.
1995). Carmichael’s actions, as alleged by Berry, qualify
undeniably as unwelcome sexual conduct that established
a hostile environment.
The case is Berry v. Chicago Transit Authority, No. 07-2288 (7th Cir. Aug. 23, 2010).