In sexual harassment cases, as with many other types of employment cases, such as racial discrimination, disability discrimination, etc., the harasser or bad guy usually is a repeat offender. If your boss is sexually harassing you, chances are good that he has done it before. Indeed, for certain types of sexual harassers, such as those supervisors that force employees to have sexual relationship with them in order to keep their job, it is not even uncommon to find that the harasser has a history of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape or other misconduct towards women.
This type of evidence may be admissible for many reasons. It may show that the harasser harbored a discriminatory intent or bias based on gender. Conduct and remarks by coworkers and supervisors toward other employees may also prove plaintiff’s allegations of a hostile environment, if he or she either witnessed such incidents or knew of them. Remarks demeaning to women in general, while not aimed at plaintiff in particular, may show a sexually hostile workplace environment. The harasser’s conduct with others may show a pattern of conduct that should have put the employer on notice of the potential harassment. (Employers are required to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring.) Also, an employer may be liable for punitive damages based on harassment of plaintiff by a supervisor or other employee where the employer had advance knowledge of the unfitness of the employee and employed him or her with a conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others or authorized or ratified the wrongful conduct for which the damages are awarded.