When a woman wrote to the newspaper’s advice section, she asked if her employer could fire her because an ex-boyfriend was stalking her. The woman had explained the situation to her supervisor, who initially seemed understanding. Later, however, the supervisor decided to fire the woman, claiming that she didn’t want drama in the office.

According to the fact sheet issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Civil Rights Act prohibits different treatment based on sex or sex-based stereotypes. This means that if the employer perceives that a woman with a stalker could bring drama to the workplace, but would not feel the same about a man in the same situation, it could be considered sex discrimination. The fact sheet further states that employers should make accommodations for victims to get medical treatment.

Ballard Spahr partner Brian D. Pedrow says that employers should be sure that they have provided "reasonable accommodation a victim of sexual abuse or harassment may need to perform his or her job effectively."

Related Practice