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Employer responsibility for rape

The Michigan Supreme Court controlling majority once again came down firmly on the side of corporate American and the insurance industry, when it held that a woman who was raped by a plant foreman on the nightshift could not sue their employer.  The radical Republican majority held that the woman, Lisa Brown (who worked as a night-shift security guard at Samuel-Whittar Steel, Inc.), had no recourse against the employer, even though the rape was not an isolated event and Lisa had repeatedly voiced complaints to the Plant Manager about verbal threats made to her by the perpetrator.

The unabashed majority rationalized its holding with the dubious claim that it is not enough that the employer had warning of the rapist's "vicious tendencies"; they held that the employer is not responsible unless the employee's lewd comments "convey an umistakeable, particularized threat of rape."  If you think that your daughter or sister is a little less safe today, because of the callous majority's refusal to hold employers resposible for inappropriate and potentially-violent behavior, you are right:  employers can refuse to address escalating complaints of this nature with impunity.  If you are embarrassed by the callousness of our Justices, join the rest of us who shudder at their superficial result-oriented activism.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
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