South-Western Legal Studies in Business

No Title VII Suit Unless Employer Has Required Number of Employees
Description Appeals court affirmed the dismissal of a suit for sexual harassment because the employee could not show that the employer had more than 14 employees during 20 weeks of any year when the employee worked. Title VII suits require at least that employee count for the law to be available to employees.
Topic Employment Discrimination
Key Words Sexual Harassment; Number of Employees
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Stinnett worked for a year as manager of the Iron Works Gym, which was in fact a house of prostitution. He sued his boss, Kathy Andrews, the owner of the establishment for sexual harassment. The district court dismissed the suit because Stinnett could not show that the Gym had the minimum number of employees for it to fall under Title VII. Stinnett appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. Stinnett failed to show that his employer had more than 14 employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the relevant time period. Even if some of the so-called independent contractors who worked at the Gym were counted as employees, the number was not large enough. Hence, the employer could not be sued for sexual harassment under Title VII.

Citation Stinnett v. Iron Works Gym, 301 F.3d 610 (7th Cir., 2002)

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