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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Federal Express Corp.

188 F. Supp. 2d 600 (2000)

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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Federal Express Corp.

United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina

188 F. Supp. 2d 600 (2000)

Facts

Sheila A. Zerehi-Carter (plaintiff) experienced sexual harassment throughout her employment with Federal Express Corporation’s (FedEx) (defendant) Raleigh-Durham Ramp (RDUR). In March 1995, Zerehi-Carter was inappropriately touched on her buttocks by her coworker, Anthony Hall. Zerehi-Carter reported the incident to her supervisor. No action was taken. Zerehi-Carter continued to experience sexual harassment from Hall and other coworkers. Zerehi-Carter continued to report the incidents to her supervisor and contacted a FedEx representative outside of RDUR. FedEx did nothing to investigate Zerehi-Carter’s complaints until October, at which time a two-month internal investigation began. The harassment continued throughout the investigation. Zerehi-Carter began experiencing physical and psychological symptoms from the constant harassment. Zerehi-Carter sought out a therapist and began taking antidepressant drugs. In November, Zerehi-Carter reported to her supervisor that she felt unsafe at work and took a one-month leave of absence. In December, FedEx reported that its investigation showed no evidence of harassment. In January, another incident with Hall occurred and Zerehi-Carter requested to receive a different assignment away from Hall, per a suggestion from her therapist and physician. Zerehi-Carter’s request was denied, and she was placed on medical leave because of her physical and psychological symptoms. Zerehi-Carter then filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (plaintiff). The EEOC sued FedEx for sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Zerehi-Carter intervened in the action and sought damages for negligent supervision and retention and for negligent infliction of emotional distress. FedEx filed for summary judgment on the ground that it was not liable for its agent’s tortious conduct and that Zerehi-Carter could not make out a prima facie case for negligent supervision and retention or negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Boyle, C.J.)

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