Women and Justice: Court: Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Domestic Case Law

Hill v. Cundiff Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (2015)

Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape

Doe, a 14 year old eighth grader, was raped at school by 15 year old eight grader CJC who had a prior history of sexual harassment at school. The school’s policy on sexual harassment was to accept only three types of evidence as demonstrative of sexual harassment: catching the harasser in the act, physical evidence of the harassment, or an admission of guilt by the harasser. Doe was instructed by a teacher’s aide to lure CJC into a bathroom as a “rape-bait” sting to catch him in the act of sexual harassment. There, CJC anally penetrated Doe against her will before teachers could arrive to catch CJC pursuant to their plan. Doe filed a complaint against the school board and school administrators with a myriad of claims including a 42 U.S.C. §1983 claim for violation of the Equal Protection Clause. While the district court granted summary judgment in favor of the principal and school officials on the §1983 claims, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reviewed the case de novo and reversed the summary judgment. The Eleventh Circuit determined that the principal deprived Doe of equal protection through his deliberate indifference to inadequate sexual harassment policies. The Court also reversed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the school officials who suggested and acquiesced to the sting operation: the court found that they were not entitled to immunity because any reasonable government official would know that the plan violated the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

Wilcox v. Corrections Corp. of America Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (2015)

Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Wilcox worked as a corrections officer at McRae Correctional Facility with her husband. After her husband was fired, Wilcox alleged that she was subject to sexual harassment by her supervisor. She alleged that her supervisor caressed her, touched her thighs and referred to them in evocative language, slapped her buttocks in front of other employees, and discussed his female friend’s genitalia with her. Wilcox complained to the EEOC that her supervisor’s actions created a hostile work environment. The Circuit Court agreed, citing that all five requirements for hostile work environment were met: 1) that the complainant belong to a protected group 2) that the complainant was subject to sexual harassment 3) the harassment was based on the sex of the complainant 4) the harassment was sufficiently pervasive or severe to change the conditions of employment and create an abusive working environment 5) a basis for holding the employer liable.