Williamson Vs Houston

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Name of the Case: Williamson v. City of Houston, Texas 2. Citation: 148 F.3d 462 3. Date Decided: July 22, 1998. 4. Facts: Linda Williamson began working as a police officer in the Houston Police Department “HPD" in 1983. In 1990, while partnered with Officer McLeod, she made numerous complaints regarding Officer McLeod’s behavior, citing sexual harassment issues, to Sergeant Bozeman. Williamson claims, in part, that McLeod Created a hostile work environment by making inappropriate comments accompanied by unwanted and unwelcomed touching. Williamson made numerous complaints to a non-responsive Sgt. Bozeman. In April 1992, Williamson requested a transfer from the Criminal Division because of "sexual harassment" issues with McLeod. Note: this…show more content…
It was at this time that Williamson first used the term "sexual harassment" to describe McLeod's behavior. Bozeman directed Williamson to write down her complaint and take it to the Internal Affairs Division ("IAD"), which she did. McLeod was transferred out of the Criminal Division immediately following Williamson's complaint to IAD. Williamson then claimed to IAD that Bozeman retaliated against her for filing the complaint. Williamson was then transferred to the Research and Analysis Squad and as a result of this transfer she lost opportunities to make overtime pay. In her complaint, Williamson claims she was shunned by co-workers, and as the result of a complaint filed by McLeod's wife, she was given a written reprimand which prevented her from transferring back to the Organized Crime Squad. The IAD investigation resulted in a finding that Williamson's allegation were not…show more content…
Main issue: Did Bozeman have knowledge of the harassment, and should Bozeman’s knowledge of McLeod’s harassment of Williamson be imputed to the City for purposes of holding that it knew or should have known of the harassment and therefore can be held liable for negligently failing to take prompt remedial action? 6. Court Deciding: United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit 7. Decision: The decision of the District Court was affirmed. 8. Principle of Law: The court states, the first of the City’s contentions is easily dismissed. The jury found that Bozeman had notice of the harassment, and it is well established that we must accept a jury’s factual finding if it is supported by substantial evidence. The City’s second claim—that as a matter of law Bozeman’s knowledge should not have been imputed to the City—poses a more significant question concerning the limits of potential liability under Title VII. This court has noted that “the type and extent of notice necessary to impose liability on an employer under Title VII are the subject of some uncertainty.” Ultimately the court found, if the HPD policy gave Bozeman the authority to accept harassment complaints, his knowledge can be imputed to the HPD for purposes of liability whether he exercised that authority appropriately or not. 9. Notes and Comments: A claim of hostile work environment sexual harassment under Title VII must be supported by proof “that the employer knew or should have known of the harassment in question

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