Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Claim Sufficiently Alleged; Termination Followed Rejection of Sexual Advances

In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Al Meghani Enterprise, Inc. d/b/a/ The Wireless Solutions, SA-21-CV-00760-JKP, 2021 WL 5450147 (W.D.Tex. Nov. 19, 2021), the court, inter alia, held that plaintiff sufficiently alleged “quid pro quo” sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

From the decision:

With regard to the quid pro quo theory of sexual harassment, Al Meghani Ent. argues the EEOC failed to articulate facts to support a causal nexus between the Store Manager’s alleged conduct and Garcia’s termination. Al Meghani Ent. contends, “[t]he Complaint is conspicuously silent regarding the anonymous Store Manager’s involvement in Garcia’s termination, and [the EEOC] offers no explanation regarding why [Al Meghani Ent.] terminated Garcia.”

To assert a claim under the quid pro quo theory, a plaintiff must allege she suffered a tangible employment action as a result of her acceptance or rejection of a supervisor’s alleged sexual harassment. The employer’s vicarious liability derives from the causal nexus between the tangible employment action and the acceptance or rejection of the alleged sexual harassment.

At this pleading stage, the EEOC’s complaint must include only a short and plain statement showing Garcia is entitled to relief and giving Al Meghani Ent. fair notice of what cause of action is and the grounds upon which it rests. To adequately allege a quid pro quo theory, the EEOC is not required to allege Garcia’s Store Manager was involved in her termination to establish causation. Nor is the EEOC required to offer an explanation why she was terminated.

The EEOC articulated facts forming the basis of her quid pro quo action of: Garcia expressed to her Store Manage she was not interested in, and repeatedly rejecting, his sexual propositions; the Store Manager was the highest ranking employee in her location and was her supervisor; the Store Manager threatened to terminate her, and; she was ultimately terminated.

At this point in the litigation, these allegations are sufficient to support a causal nexus between her termination and her rejection of the Store Manager’s sexual propositions.

[Citations omitted.]

Based on this, the court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss this cause of action.

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