Attorneys Alan L. Goodman and R. Gregory Hyden of Nason, Yeager, Gerson, White & Lioce, P.A. represented its corporate client in a significant victory in federal court in Miami. The lawsuit alleged responsibility for sexual harassment based on a hostile work environment.
United States District Judge Federico A. Moreno recently granted a summary judgment in favor of the company and dismissed the former employee’s sexual harassment claim.
The employee alleged that the company was liable for a purportedly sexually hostile
working environment created by another employee. The Plaintiff asserted that although the harasser was not her supervisor, he had the “apparent authority” to tangibly affect her employment, and therefore, should still be deemed her supervisor for purposes of imposing vicarious liability on the company. Goodman successfully argued that based on the seminal Supreme Court case of Vance v. Ball State University (2013), an “apparent authority” theory of liability is not viable as Vance changed the legal landscape regarding the definition of supervisor under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“This is a significant victory in the Southern District of Florida that will greatly benefit employers, since it dramatically narrows the factual circumstances under which employers can be vicariously liable” said Goodman. “In accepting our argument, the Court rejected those decisions, post-Vance, that continued to confer supervisor status on an employee under an ‘apparent authority’ theory.” Until this ruling, the issue of Vance’s impact on “apparent authority” had been undecided in the Southern District.
Alan L. Goodman heads Nason Yeager’s commercial and employment litigation practice group in its Boca Raton offices. For almost 25 years, he has practiced in the areas of complex commercial and employment litigation, representing individuals, businesses and institutions involved in an array of matters including fraud and misrepresentation, dissolution or business breakups, shareholder/partnership disputes, professional liability and employment litigation.
Gregory Hyden is a litigation attorney with Nason Yeager working primarily in the areas of commercial litigation, governmental and administrative litigation and family law. Mr. Hyden holds a Juris Doctor degree from Florida State University. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Hyden’s diverse experience included litigating family law matters and criminal law.
Nason Yeager’s offices are located in Palm Beach Gardens and Boca Raton, FL. For more information visit www.nasonyeager.com, call (561) 982-7114 or email firstname.lastname@example.org