There’s a joke sign that reads:
Sexual harassment in this area will not be reported. However, it will be “graded.”
Hilarious, right? For one sexual harassment plaintiff, the laughter stopped when the court dismissed her complaint, citing her use of a sticker with similar language.
In Krupa v. Dunkirk Specialty Steel, LLC, a Magistrate Judge issued a recommendation (which the district court adopted) that defendant’s motion for summary judgment be granted and that plaintiff’s complaint be dismissed.
In dismissing plaintiff’s hostile work environment sexual harassment claim, the court held that plaintiff advanced only “stray comments” that bore no relation to plaintiff’s gender. It went on to observe:
If anything, Krupa risked making other coworkers uncomfortable through a sticker that she had placed on her toolbox. The sticker read, “Sexual harassment will not be reported; however, it will be graded.” Under these circumstances, a reasonable jury would have no genuine, material fact disputes to resolve and would not find for Krupa under a theory of a hostile work environment.
One take-away from this decision is that a sexual harassment plaintiff who treats sexual harassment as a joke makes it more likely that his or her employer will have the last laugh.