Hansel v. Public Service Company of Colorado

778 F. Supp. 1126 (1991)

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Hansel v. Public Service Company of Colorado

United States District Court for the District of Colorado

778 F. Supp. 1126 (1991)

Facts

Victoria Lynn Hansel (plaintiff) was an auxiliary tender for the Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCC) (defendant). PSCC only employed one other woman besides Hansel as an auxiliary tender at the Comanche Power Plant in Pueblo, Colorado. Hansel experienced various forms of sexual harassment from her first day on the job. Hansel’s male coworkers slapped her buttocks on 10 different occasions and fondled her breasts on three separate occasions, all in front of other coworkers. Hansel was sexually assaulted and raped by two of her male colleagues after they offered her a ride home from work. Hansel found a male coworker in the ladies’ room with a hang noose, and he told her she should kill herself. Hansel was afraid to report these incidents and thought that the harassment would end if she was quiet. At an annual performance review in 1982, Hansel’s supervisor told her to try to fit in better when she brought up the sexual harassment. In another performance review in 1983, Hansel reported the sexual harassment again but became hysterical and was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown. After Hansel returned to work, she was nicknamed a “mental case.” In May 1983, Hansel identified six male coworkers who sexually harassed her in a complaint to plant management. The men denied the charges, and PSCC took no further actions. After the complaint, the overt, physical sexual harassment declined, but the abusive work environment persisted. PSCC had a policy against sexual harassment, but PSCC did not effectively monitor sexual harassment in the workplace. In June 1988, Hansel sued PSCC for violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Babcock, J.)

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