It is whereby there is discrimination of sex in which there is sexual advances which are unwelcome, physical or verbal conduct which involves a sexual nature by one sex to another, either same sex or opposite sex.
It interferes with the work performance of an individual or creates a hostile and an intimidating work environment.
Sexual harassment occurs in different circumstances. Often, the harasser has power or authority over the victim (due to age differences, political, social, employment or educational relationships).
Section 1. Conduct of Peter Lewiston against the EEOC’s definition of Sexual Harassment
According to title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, discrimination is prohibited on the basis of religion, sex, race or national origin by covered employers. It also prohibits discrimination of an individual because of his or her associations with individuals of a particular color, national origin, race and religion.
Lewiston’s conduct to Beverly Gilbury was unlawful with respect to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This is because he violated Beverly Gilbury’s rights by making sexual advancements towards her. He did this by sending a card and a dozen of roses to Gilbury in which the card read, “Please forgive me for thinking you could like me. I played the big fool. Yours always, P.L.” Later in the day he asked Gilbury out for lunch of which Gilbury turned down the offer and insisted that they should remain as friends. Gilbury complained to another teacher that she wasn’t for the idea of receiving the card and the roses and that Lewiston wouldn’t stop insisting on them being very close. She expressed her concern that Peter Lewiston might have got more romantic with her. Again, Peter Lewiston sent a handwritten card to Gilbury on the June 8 2008 which read, “I hope that you can someday return my affections for you. I need you so much.” He even went further by asking Gilbury out for lunch later that day but she again turned down the offer by saying that she was a married woman who was happy in her relationship.
At the close of the school day on the 8 June 2008, Gilbury was going to her car and Peter Lewiston appeared suddenly and asked to explain himself but Gilbury was agitated and shouted out that she had to leave at that time but instead Peter Lewiston reached inside the car, probably to pat her shoulder, but instead touched her head which made her believe that he meant to stroke her hair. This according to EEOC is Sexual Harassment because of Peter Lewiston’s unwelcome Physical contact.
Section 2. Conclusions as the District’s EEOC Officer
As the District’s EEOC officer, I would side with Peter Lewiston because he was just a victim of circumstances. Peter Lewiston lost his wife in 2003 and he stayed as a widower since then. His co-workers described him as outgoing, friendly but lonely. He was lonely because he did not have a companion. Peter Lewiston thought that he would a companion in Beverly Gilbury who was his workmate. Beverly Gilbury had been in that school for six years which meant that Peter Lewiston had spent enough time learning Beverly Gilbury and he probably thought that they together would make a perfect match.
He started spending more time in Gilbury’s classroom talking to the children and also with her because he was probably trying to make their friendly relationship intimate. Gilbury didn’t respond to that because she didn’t want to break his heart and that’s why Lewiston went further and told her that he was fond of her and that she had beautiful eyes. Gilbury responded by telling him that he should remember that they were just friends.
Peter Lewiston went further by sending a dozen of roses and a card to Gilbury and in that card he apologized to her thinking that she would like him. He even asked her out for lunch but she turned down the offer. Gilbury complained to another teacher about Lewiston advancements to her instead of making the complains to Lewiston himself.
On June 8 2008, Peter Lewiston expressed his feelings to Gilbury through a card and even asked her out for lunch. It was then that Gilbury told Peter Lewiston that she was a happily married woman. At the close of school day on that very same day, Peter Lewiston went to Gilbury probably to apologize to her after learning that she was married but he got an unwelcoming response from Gilbury.
On June 9 2008, Gilbury got another card and a lengthy letter stating that he was wrong in trying to establish a relationship with her and he hoped they could still remain friends which meant that he didn’t have any ill-motives.
As the District’s EEOC, I would not have taken any disciplinary action on anybody i.e. both Peter Lewiston and Beverly Gilbury. This is because, Peter Lewiston was just trying to find a perfect match for him in Gilbury but it was not possible because Gilbury was married and at first he didn’t know. That’s why he continued to make his advances towards Beverly Gilbury.
Gilbury on the other hand was trying to protect her marriage because she wouldn’t want to lose her husband for another man. She always turned down the offers by Peter Lewiston and also complained to another teacher because she was getting concerned about Peter Lewiston’s actions and that’s why she went further and filed a case against Peter Lewiston.
- American Association of University Women. Hostile Hallways: Bullying, Teasing, and Sexual Harassment in School. AAUW, 2002.
- Loevy, Robert D. “A Brief History of the Civil Rights Act OF 1964,” in David C. Kozak and Kenneth N. Ciboski, ed., The American Presidency (Chicago, IL: Nelson Hall, 1985), pp. 411–419.