SW Legal studies in Business

Defendant in Civil Sexual Harassment Suit May Be Compelled to Provide DNA Sample
Description Appeals court upheld a trial court order that a supervisor accused of sexual harassment be compelled to provide a DNA sample so that it could be compared to a semen specimen the plaintiff contends was from her supervisor from a sexual assault at work. The plaintiff's rights outweigh the minimal intrusion on the defendant.
Topic Court Procedure
Key Words Evidence; DNA; Sexual Harassment
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Hargrave worked for MTC for six months before she was fired for failing to follow supervisor's directions. She sued MTC alleging discriminatory discharge following sexual harassment and abuse. Hargrave asserts that one night, when working late, her supervisor called her into his office, made suggestive remarks to her, "restrained her, laid on top of her, undid his pants, and masturbated all over her." He threatened to fire her if she reported the incident. She contends that she has the skirt she was wearing that night and it contains the semen of her supervisor. To prove her contention, she requested a DNA sample from the defendant for comparison to the stain on the skirt. The supervisor refused. The trial court ordered him to provide the sample and issued a protective order to keep the results under seal. The supervisor and MTC appealed the order that the DNA sample must be provided.
Decision Affirmed. The trial court has the authority under the general rules of discovery to compel the supervisor to submit to DNA testing. The state's interest in providing a reasonable forum for its citizens to resolve disputes, in regulating litigation in courts, and in protecting its citizens from harassment in the workplace outweigh the minimal intrusion on a defendant in a sexual harassment case to provide either a blood sample or cheek swab for DNA testing. The court has provided adequate protective orders to limit the use of the information to this case alone.
Citation Hargrave v. Dohlman Brown and Maintaining Total Control, Inc., 2001 WL 277846 (Ct. App., La., 2001)

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