Summary of 1998 Harassment Cases II
Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School District (U.S. Supreme Court).
Decided before Ellerth and Faragher, the Supreme Court held that a school district was not liable for sexual harassment because it had no actual notice of, nor did it display deliberate indifference towards the alleged harassment. The case involved a sexual relationship between a female student and a male teacher. The teacher was terminated following discovery of the affair. The student never reported the relationship, and there was no evidence that the school district was aware it.
Implications for Employers:
This case narrowed the protection afforded to students, unlike the Ellerth and Faragher cases, which expanded the protection, afforded to employees. Because this case arose under Title IX, which applies only to educational institutions, it is not clear if the Ellerth and Faragher holdings would protect school districts.
Source: Jackson, Lewis, Schnitzler & Krupman, White Plains, NY, December 14, 1998.