Wednesday, April 15, 2009

California Supreme Court Hears Hughes v. Pair

Oral Argument in Sexual Harassment Case Was Heard on April 7

During its April 7th Oral Argument session the California Supreme Court heard arguments in the sexual harassment action Hughes v. Pair. In that action Suzan Hughes, the mother of a minor child whose trust was administered by Christopher Pair, sued Pair for sexual harassment under Civil Code section 51.9. The Court of Appeal had held that the words "pervasive and severe" have the same meaning in 51.9 as they do in FEHA and Title VII.

Section 51.9 applies specifically to a relationship with a professional when the plaintiff is unable to easily terminate the relationship. It thus always refers to a first party sexual harassment claim rather than the employer-ratification argument that is usually made in FEHA and Title VII actions.

The Supreme Court's discussion is sure to be interesting to those who follow sexual harassment law.

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