Wal-Mart Must Defend Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit

A federal appeals court ruled that Wal-Mart must defend a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit in which the alleged negligence of the initial harassment complaints may have led to the retaliation claim.  According to the decision in the case of Jorge Perez-Cordero v. Wal-Mart Puerto Rico, Inc., the plaintiff had been employed at Wal-Mart's Sam's Club Store in Puerto Rico as a butcher since 1998.  In 2000, Madeline Santiago was assigned as a team leader and had some supervisory authority over him.  Early on, she began sharing details of her private life with him.  Perez-Cordero indicated that he was not interested in a romantic relationship.  According to the opinion, after that, his work conditions began to change.  For example, he was always scheduled to work the closing shift.  The plaintiff also alleged unwanted physical contact by his supervisor.  Perez-Cordero complained to managment, but they took no action.  The plaintiff claimed that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the actions.  He filed suit in 2001 allegding violations of Title VII and Puerto Rican law.  While a lower court dismissed the claims, the federal appeals court overturned the decision, and allowed both employment claims to go forward.
Categories: Employment Law