South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Making Employee Move to Avoid Sexual Harassment May Be Adverse Job Action

Appeals court held that an employee could win a judgment against a former employer who transferred him to a position 120 miles away from where he had been working so as to get him away from sexual harassment on the job

Topic Employment Discrimination
Key Words

Sexual Harassment; Adverse Action

C A S E   S U M M A R Y

Keeton was hired by Flying J as associate manager of a facility in Kentucky. He was told he would probably be there five years. He claimed that soon after he began work, he was sexually harassed by his supervisor. He rebuffed her advances and, after a couple months, was fired without warning. Keeton called his district manager, who got him a position at another Flying J located 120 miles away. Keeton had to maintain two homes. His wife could not move because of major surgery, so he soon quit and went to work for another company. He sued for discrimination and won a judgment of $15,000 at district court. Flying J appealed.


Affirmed. Under Title VII, if a supervisor's sexual harassment results in a tangible employment action, the employer will be strictly liable. Keeton suffered no adverse action when he was fired because Flying J immediately rehired him, but his transfer to a different location, which caused a major commute issue, was an adverse employment action for the jury to consider..


Keeton v. Flying J, Inc, 429 F.3d 259 (6th Cir., 2005)

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