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Summary Judgment for Employer in EEOC's Sex Discrimination Suit Reversed

By FindLaw Staff on June 18, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In Equal Employment Opportunity Comm'n v. Fairbrook Med. Clinic, P.A., No. 09-1610, the Fourth Circuit faced a challenge to the  district court's judgment in favor of the defendant-employer in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) suit on behalf of a plaintiff-doctor against her former employer for creating a hostile work environment because of plaintiff's sex.

As the court wrote: "In this case, many of Kessel's comments ventured into highly personal territory.  While Waechter was pregnant, he frequently commented about the size of her breasts.  After she gave birth, he asked to see her breasts and to pump them, stated that he wanted to lick up her breast milk, inquired about the status of her libido, and opined that she was probably a "wild thing" in bed."

Thus, in reversing the district court's judgment, the court held that the EEOC has presented an issue of triable fact as what happened was not merely general crudity but a series of graphic remarks of a highly personal nature directed at a female employee by the sole owner of an establishment.   

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