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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20395
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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I'm in Michigan. Wife's retirement date is Feb 13th.

Customer Question

I'm in Michigan. Wife's retirement date is Feb 13th. Considering a lawsuit for either hostile work environment or sexual harassment. She was forced (psychologically) to retire a year early due to a relationship our dean was having with a subordinate. Not sure if we can file at this time or where to start.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 years ago.


Thank you for the information. Can you clarify when your wife left employment and also what specifically the employer did that would create a hostile work environment or sexual harassment?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Feb 13th. Favoritism for a small group of people who covered for each other, for one. A great divide in treatment of employees. No clock required for the special few. Additional money beyond the standard (highly unusual) to hire one of their spouses. Two able to come and go as they please, not being required to report time off or work hours. Two people who reported that others were questioning the relationship were threatened to be fired and taken to task. Very divided work group and caustic work environment. Recent info states that the affair was confirmed in divorce proceedings testimony. On one occasion, the office was locked for fear of another employee violence. My wife and one other person, one who was targeted for reporting the observations of faculty, were left out of the loop, uninformed of the high tension dramatics. My wife called me looking for protection because her boss wouldn't tell her what was transpiring. That is a short version of events.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 years ago.

Hello again an thank you for your reply. Based on what you shared I don't see the sexual harassment in this scenario. If you are saying that your wife was treated adversely because she reported an affair or because the other employee in the affair was the only one to receive favorable treatment, then that might be

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 years ago.

Sorry, hit the wrong button. I will continue

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok. To clarify, the affair between the Dean and his employee, peer of my wife, created favoritism. The women in the affair and those close to the two were treated differently than others. Others were treated with disrespect and attacked. Work environment became toxic. School supported the dean and refused to do anything, even though he was having relations with a subordinate.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 years ago.

might be a basis for a retaliation claim under gender discrimination or quid pro quo gender discrimination. As for hostile work environment, that is a subtype of discrimination. In order for there to be an actionable cause, the harassment must be both "severe and pervasive" and must be motivated by discriminatory intent based on the employee's membership in a protected class under employment discrimination laws. In other words, there is no HWE without the discrimination element being met.

All that said, your wife can file a complaint with the State civil rights division and the EEOC and see what their investigation reveals. She only has 180 days to file with the State and 300 days with the EEOC. She may also, in the meantime, want to sit down with a local employment law attorney and discuss all the details so that they can assist her directly in resolving the issue if she does not want to wait for the agencies to take action.

Please let me know if you need any clarification.

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 years ago.
Hello again,
I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any further follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 3rd. For some unknown reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (in the pop up box for this question, which is how we get credit (paid) for our work) that the customer thinks have gone through. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator.
In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed. You can bookmark my page at:
Thank you.