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Employer Required to Make Effort to Stop Harassment By Non-Employee

In Hewitt v. BS Transportation, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the right of an employee to proceed against his employer for harassment by a non-employee.
Carl Hewitt was a freight driver for BS Transportation, transporting fuel for NASCAR. On a regular basis, he came into contact with a Sunoco employee, who Hewitt alleged harassed him. Sunoco was a fuel provider. Hewitt claimed this employee made sexual advances toward him when he went to the plant to pick up fuel, including grabbing Hewitt, pushing him into a trailer and asking, “Do you like that?” Hewitt claimed Sunoco employees were aware of the conduct; he also complained about the sexual harassment and assault to the employee’s manager. This manager claimed he would take care of it. Hewitt’s supervisor approached Hewitt later that day, advising Hewitt he had spoken to the employee’s manager and the situation would be handled. Hewitt alleges his manager instructed him not to say any more about it. The harassment stopped temporarily but then picked up again, which Hewitt reported to his manager. Hewitt alleged the harassment continued thereafter.
Hewitt brought a hostile work environment claim under Title VII and a claim for aiding and abetting against his employer. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his right to pursue a claim of harassment against BS Transportation. Hewitt alleged sufficient facts to show that his employer knew or should have known about the harassment and failed to take corrective action. The relevant facts were BS’ alleged failure to investigate or notify Sunoco of Hewitt’s claims of continuing harassment. The aiding and abetting against his manager was also supported by the allegation that the manager failed to notify Sunoco of the continued complaints, thereby failing to take prompt remedial action against the discrimination.