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BUSH v. RAYMOND CORP.

February 19, 1997

CARRIE BUSH and ALAN BUSH, Plaintiffs,
v.
RAYMOND CORPORATION, INC., and CHUCK SAWYER and GREG RUSNAK, as Aiders and Abettors, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCAVOY

 Plaintiff Carrie Bush and her husband Alan Bush filed this action alleging sexual harassment, discriminatory and retaliatory discharge and loss of consortium, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., ("Title VII"), and the New York Human Rights Law, Executive Law § 296 ("HRL"). Currently before the Court is defendants' second motion for summary judgment.

 I. BACKGROUND

 A. Facts:

 Plaintiff Carrie Bush was employed by defendant Raymond Corporation, Inc. ("Raymond") from approximately August of 1985 to February of 1995. From 1993 to 1994, plaintiff was supervised by defendant Chuck Sawyer ("Sawyer"), who also was the acting manager of the department within which plaintiff worked. Defendant Greg Rusnak ("Rusnak") was plaintiff's supervisor from January 16, 1995 to February 14, 1995. Prior to his position as her supervisor, Rusnak was plaintiff's co-worker. Alan Bush was and is plaintiff's husband, and was also employed by Raymond during the relevant period.

 Plaintiff alleges that from the time she began working for Raymond, Sawyer made offensive comments about her; such comments escalated when she was promoted to the Tagging Department in 1994. These comments included the following:

 -"I have to get away from you before anything happens";"

 -"You've got a really great looking wife," to Alan Bush in the presence of plaintiff;

 -"How did she look in a two piece bathing suit?" to Alan Bush in the presence of plaintiff;

 -"If I tell you what your raise is, will I get a kiss and a hug?";

 -"That feels great," after putting his arms around plaintiff;

 -"God you smell great";

 -"Let me know if you ever decide to leave your husband";

 -"Don't worry, if you ever leave him you can move right in with me."

 Sometime thereafter, plaintiff alleges that Rusnak also began to make offensive remarks to her, accusing her of having a sexual relationship with Sawyer. These remarks included: "if you weren't fucking Chuck, you would have been fired a long time ago," and "How is Chucky lately? You had better wipe off your mouth." Sawyer and Rusnak deny making these comments.

 Plaintiff contends that during 1994 and early 1995, she repeatedly told Rusnak that his comments were offensive, and that he should stop making them. She further alleges that, during the same time period, she complained to Sawyer, who merely told employees during a meeting to leave each other alone and to stop making comments about each other. Sawyer denies that plaintiff ever made any complaints that she was being sexually harassed. Nevertheless, plaintiff contends that two days after this alleged meeting, Rusnak resumed making sexually oriented remarks.

 Rusnak alleges that plaintiff and another employee left work early on January 31, 1995, which plaintiff denies. As a result, the other employee was terminated. Fearing the same fate, plaintiff allegedly contacted Steve Pecoraro in the Human Resources Department to determine what was occurring. During the course of that conversation, plaintiff asserts that she told Pecoraro about Sawyer and Rusnak's conduct. Pecoraro allegedly told plaintiff that he would look into it.

 According to plaintiff, Pecoraro called back 45 minutes later and informed plaintiff that he conducted an investigation and reached the conclusion that there was no sexual harassment occurring at Raymond. Since plaintiff felt that the only way to be free from the harassment was to quit, she did so on February 1, 1995.

 The next day, however, plaintiff asked for her job back. Plaintiff was returned to the Sand and Mask Department; she alleges that Pecoraro told her that she and Rusnak would have to work out their problems between themselves.

 Defendants allege that plaintiff was scheduled for mandatory overtime on February 11, from which she requested to be excused. Rusnak claims that he denied the request. When plaintiff failed to show up, she was terminated. Plaintiff contends that she was never informed the overtime was mandatory; rather, she asserts that Rusnak told her he would "like" her to work on the 11th, which she declined.

 Raymond has a policy against sexual harassment contained in its Employee Manual, which advises employees to immediately contact Human Resources regarding instances of harassing conduct. Plaintiff admits receiving a copy of the book when she was initially hired, and admits having read it.

 B. Procedural History:

 Plaintiff and Alan Bush filed a Complaint in this Court on February 20, 1996. An Amended Complaint was filed on February 23, 1996. The Amended Complaint alleged causes of action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., and the New York Human Rights Law, Executive Law § ...


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