The Honorable Robert M. Hanna, a Sussex County Superior Court Judge, ruled earlier this month that the plaintiff, Christine Rose, a former employee of Crystal Springs Resort, did not show she was subjected to sexual harassment or retaliation as she claimed.
Rose, a hostess at the resort's Crystal Tavern, alleged that she overheard a manager use a vulgarity to describe a group of female customers. She did not initially complain to the human resources department, although later said she believed the comment was directed toward her as well.
Rose was terminated a few weeks later. She then claimed she told a human resources receptionist that she had been subjected to a hostile work environment. However, Rose never filed an internal complaint with human resources as required.
NJ Law Against Discrimination at Core of Case Rose sued under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), alleging sexual harassment and retaliation against various defendants affiliated with the resort.
Winning Argument by Stefani Schwartz Schwartz, a partner at the Whippany, N.J., law firm and a leading management-side attorney in New Jersey, said Crystal Springs terminated Rose for legitimate business reasons. "Since the company maintains a strong and effective human resource department, which implemented an anti-harassment procedure, the court could not find it liable," Schwartz said.
In his decision, Judge Hanna stated that the alleged comment by the resort manager "would not make a reasonable person in the Plaintiff's position conclude her work atmosphere was sexist and hostile."
Judge Hanna also noted: "This is not an instance of a fully formed hostile work environment based on the cumulative impact of successive incidents."
Rose also claimed that as a result of having complained about the comment, she was not rehired. But the court found that she did not show a connection between her termination and the complained-of conduct.
Stefani Schwartz's Dismissal Strategy "Many employment cases can be dismissed, if they are properly prepared," said Schwartz. "Employers should maintain good documentation and anti-harassment procedures, and remind supervisors of their obligations. Employment cases are difficult to resolve, so it's important to have strong legal counsel who knows the law and how to defend employment cases. While settlements may make sound business decisions, winning a dismissal is the best deterrent to frivolous litigation," she added.
The case is Christine Rose v. Stone Hill Recreation Corp., et al., SSX-L-679-14.
About Crystal Springs Resort Crystal Springs Resort is a four-season complex in Sussex County, NJ. It has golf courses, hotels, spas, horseback riding, event venues, and other features.
About Stefani C Schwartz, Esq. Stefani C Schwartz has extensive experience representing private companies in all aspects of employment law, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful-termination matters. She has a strong record in getting such cases dismissed. As a result, in-house counsel, human resource professionals and risk managers turn to her when making critical decisions. She has represented hundreds of clients in state and federal court, during arbitration proceedings and before administrative agencies.