Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing Profession (5)4 Apr 97   

 

   Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act only outlaws acts of sexual harassment on the job between an employer and an employee.

   One form on-the-job sexual harassment can take is so-called "quid pro quo." That means that the employee is offered better treatment in exchange for sex or suffers retaliation for refusing sexual overtures.

   The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama recently ruled that an emergency-room nurse’s suit for quid pro quo sexual harassment against the emergency-room physician did not stand on a solid legal foundation. Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act only outlaws acts of sexual harassment on the job between an employer and an employee. In this case, the physician was the employee of a separate corporation which had a contract with the hospital, the nurse’s employer, to provide ER physician’s services.

   The court seemed to want to rule for the nurse. However, the court refused to stretch the facts and refused to look upon the physician as the hospital’s designated agent in supervising the nurse, which had been the nurse’s attorneys’ main point of argument in the case. Hamm vs. Lakeview Community Hospital, 950 F. Supp. 330 (M.D. Ala., 1996).