. ¬†Swann then went¬†through orientation which included the staffing firm's sexual harassment policy. ¬†Swann signed, dated and documented that she had read and understood the policy.
Source One's attendance and tardiness guidelines were given to Swann prior to acceptance of a position. ¬†Swann was then assigned to Durham UPS facility. ¬†After months of excessive tardiness and unexcused absences, Source One terminated Swann from placement at UPS. Company timecards and records reflect that Swann was absent eleven days between January and May 2008.
After ending Swann's assignment at the Durham (NC) UPS facility, Source One was not able to place Swann with another client. ¬†Swann then filed for unemployment and it was within the unemployment hearing that Source One Staffing Solutions was first informed of sexual¬†harassment¬†that had allegedly occurred while Swann was at placement.
Swann said that a coworker at the UPS facility "asked her for a date, flirted with her, made sexual references, twice grabbed his genitals in front of her, crudely described a desire to have intercourse with her, threatened her once, squirted her shirt with a water bottle in order to see through her shirt, touched her twice without her consent, and showed her a photo of himself in a swim suit."
The court granted Source One Staffing's motion for summary¬†judgement on the basis that the staffing agency did not¬†create a sexually hostile work environment in violation of Title VII because they were never made aware of the sexual harassment and had no knowledge of it.
Further,¬†Source One¬†could¬†not have "wrongfully discharged her in violation of North Carolina public policy in retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment" because they had no knowlege of the incident at the time of Swann's termination.
Swann's suit didn't have a legal leg to stand on but take a good look at the case. ¬†Had Swann not signed the sexual¬†harassment¬†policy or had she not been informed of the procedure for reporting such an incident she would have more footing to say the staffing agency was subjecting her to a hostile environment.
This case demonstrates another lesson staffing¬†agencies¬†should take away from it: document everything! As employees we are reminded that those policies and procedures are in place for a reason and if we want to protect our own personal employment rights then we must adhere to the instruction within those policies and procedures.
Had Swann gone directly to Source One Staffing and reported the alleged harrasser, things would have been completely different.
If you want more legal detail, the case is located here.