No Texas employee should have to deal with being harassed, whether it’s from coworkers, management, or even customers. Federal law provides employees who have been the victim of workplace sexual harassment several alternatives. Commonly, when an employee is harassed, the harassing individuals are also employees of the company. However, that no longer needs to be the case in certain circumstances.
In a recent federal court appellate opinion, the court discussed a situation in which a nurse’s sexual harassment and hostile work environment claim against her employer can proceed to trial for the conduct of a patient.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, the case was brought by an experienced Certified Nursing Assistant who worked at the defendant nursing facility. The nurse was assigned to care for an elderly man who suffered from numerous mental health issues, including dementia. Over the course of several years, the patient regularly tried to grope the nurse, requested that she perform sexual acts on him, and routinely made sexually inappropriate comments. Further, the nursing facility was aware of the patient’s propensity to be sexually aggressive. After one incident, a supervisor told the nurse to “put her big girl panties on and go back to work.”