News | February 16, 2000

UPS Wins Sexual Harassment Case by Taking Quick and Appropriate Corrective Action

Rochelle Hubbard worked for UPS Corp. as a package bagger and sorter. In a lawsuit filed against UPS, Hubbard alleged she was a victim of persistent offensive behavior by co-worker Donald Dallas.

Her first problem was Dallas's penchant for throwing plastic tags at his fellow workers in the package sort area. One night, Dallas threw a tag that struck Hubbard hard enough to leave a mark on her leg, according to her lawsuit. A UPS supervisor saw Dallas throw the tag and criticized him. UPS entered a disciplinary notation on Dallas's personnel record, and no further tag throwing occurred.

Later that month, Hubbard complained that Dallas had thrown a shipping envelope that struck Hubbard in the face. Her supervisor spoke with Dallas, admonished him to handle packages appropriately, but did not note the incident on his personnel record.

Shortly thereafter, Dallas pulled out the waistband of his pants in front of Hubbard and a male co-worker. When Hubbard objected, Dallas did it again, exposing himself with the comment that he had nothing to hide.

The next day, Hubbard complained about this indecent conduct. She met with a UPS Human Resources Department supervisor and detailed all of Dallas's offensive behavior, beginning with the tag throwing and ending with the latest incident. Hubbard also said she did not want Dallas to lose his job.

UPS supervisors promptly met with Dallas, explained UPS's sexual harassment policy, and warned him about harassing behavior. UPS transferred Dallas to a work area at the opposite end of the 50,000 square foot facility, according to Dallas's personnel record, and warned him that further harassment or retaliation against Hubbard would result in his termination.

Hubbard said she was satisfied with these remedial actions. When she later filed a grievance because Dallas had entered her work area on his way to the restroom and given her "dirty looks." Hubbard was offered a job in another part of the building, which she declined.

Hubbard made no further complaints about Dallas. However, subsequently, she filed a lawsuit against UPS alleging co-worker sexual harassment, among other claims. Her case eventually reached the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit which ruled in favor of UPS.

Here, in part, is what the court said:

"When Hubbard first complained that Dallas had engaged in sexually offensive conduct, UPS took immediate remedial action that Hubbard agreed was appropriate, transferring Dallas to a distant work area, reinforcing the company's sexual harassment policy with him, noting Hubbard's complaint in his permanent employee record, and warning him that further harassment or retaliation would result in his termination. The punishment suited Dallas's misconduct, and no further sexually offensive conduct occurred."

Source: Hubbard v. UPS, 2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 127, United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, (Jan. 7, 2000)

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