Compliance matters — swift investigation defeats discrimination claim.

‘Blanton sued for employment discrimination, and after trial, “[t]here is no question that Blanton was subjected to egregious verbal sexual and racial harassment by the general manager of the Pizza Hut store where he worked.”  Blanton v. Newton Associates, Inc., No. 14-50087 (Feb. 10, 2015, unpublished).  The issue on appeal was whether the employer had established “the Ellerth/Faragher affirmative defense”; essentially, that the employer acted reasonably to stop the harassment and the employee unreasonably failed to enlist the employer’s aid.  The evidence showed a lack of training about the employer’s anti-discrimination policies, and that two low-level supervisors hesitated to report the harassment for fear of retaliation by the general manager, but that “[o]nce Blanton did complain to a manager with authority over the general manager, Pizza Hut completed an investigation and fired her within four days.”  Accordingly, the verdict and resulting judgment for the employer was affirmed.

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