Social Responsibility

A New York sexual harassment case bears similarities to the NaviSite case.

The Capece lawsuit -- which seeks to expand corporate civil liability for the behavior of employees -- is apparently not an isolated case. On Jan. 5 the The New York Times reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York held that Delta Air Lines is "potentially liable" under sexual harassment law for "not doing enough to stop what a flight attendant said was rape by another flight attendant," even though the alleged rape took place in a hotel, when the two were not working, and not in a "traditional work site." The appeals court overturned a 2000 dismissal by a lower court, which had ruled that Delta could not be held responsible because the hotel room could not be considered a "work environment."

The female flight attendant charged that in 1998, a fellow attendant had raped her while their flight crew was staying over in Rome after a flight from New York City. Two other flight attendants had made similar allegations to Delta regarding the same man, whose attorney told the Times that his client denies all the charges. The appeals court ruled Dec. 21 that Delta was potentially liable for maintaining a hostile work environment because it had not addressed those previous complaints in any manner.

"The court has extended employer responsibility further than it has ever been extended before," Delta lawyer Gilmore Diekmann Jr. told the Times. "It sets a precedent for any company whose employees are known by the company to go out and socialize on a regular basis." As a result of the ruling, Diekmann said, "companies with traveling sales forces might have to police whether one employee sexually assaulted another while on the road."

The three-judge panel sent the case back to federal district court. Delta's attorneys are asking for a rehearing by the full appeals court.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Jordan Smith
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
Motoreum's Yusuf & Antonio talk about the biz and their reality TV debut

May 22, 2014

APD Brass Shifts Up, Down, Across
APD Brass Shifts Up, Down, Across
Musical chairs at Downtown HQ

May 9, 2014


NaviSite Inc., sexual harassment, Delta Airlines

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle