HR Administration

Supervisor’s Unchecked Sexual Harassment

By Daniel Saeedi, Rachel L. Schaller

Nov. 27, 2018

In Sheri Minarsky v. Susquehanna County (Pennsylvania), Minarsky alleged that over four years, her supervisor had repeatedly made unwanted advances, including by touching her inappropriately, attempting to kiss her more than 10 times and sending her inappropriate emails.

sexual harassment

Throughout the four years, she never reported that her supervisor’s actions made her uncomfortable. She filed suit against the county alleging state and federal claims for sexual harassment.

The county moved for summary judgment based on the Faragher-Ellerth defense. Because Minarsky did not report the conduct for four years, and once she did, the supervisor was terminated, the county argued that it could not be held liable for the supervisor’s sexual harassment.

The Third Circuit Court found it could not conclude that the county exercised reasonable care to prevent the sexual harassment or that Minarsky unreasonably failed to report her supervisor’s conduct. Minarsky testified that she did not report her supervisor because management knew the supervisor had harassed at least four other women in the office but failed to take action.

Even though the county had an anti-sexual harassment policy, reprimanded him twice, and terminated him in response to Minarsky’s complaint, the court held a jury could conclude the county failed to effectively deal with the supervisor’s pattern of misconduct. Sheri Minarsky v. Susquehanna County, No. 17-2646, 895 F.3d 303 (3rd Cir. 2018)

IMPACT: Employers should not ignore or minimize less serious incidents of sexual harassment, particularly where there is a pattern of misconduct. Allowing such conduct to continue unchecked could result in employer liability.

Rachel L. Schaller and Daniel Saeedi are attorneys at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP. Comment below or email


blog workforce

We build robust scheduling & attendance software for businesses with 500+ frontline workers. With custom BI reporting and demand-driven scheduling, we help our customers reduce labor spend and increase profitability across their business. It's as simple as that.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog

HR Administration

Policy management: What is it and what does it look like for HR?

Summary Policy management involves the creation and maintenance of administrative procedures and guidel...

hr policy, policy automation, policy management

workforce blog


Minimum Wage by State in 2022 – All You Need to Know

Summary The federal minimum wage rate is $7.25, but the rate is higher in 30 states, along with Washing...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog

HR Administration

Rest and lunch break laws in every US state

Summary Federal law does not require meal or rest breaks Some states have laws requiring meal and rest ...