team and fact pattern assignments

 

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In this discussion, the instructor will post the learner groups for the oral presentation. Groups will use the Fact Pattern, linked in the Resources, for their oral argument presentation.

Use the early part of this week to get in touch with your group members. Express your impression of the fairness of the situation to both parties.

Oral Argument Fact Pattern

Joanna Capella came to work for Educational Books (a small academic publishing house) in 2010 as an assistant to the CEO, Arthur Moore. In 2012, Moore, her mentor, promoted her to vice president in charge of author relations. Her responsibilities included putting scholars under contract to write academic works. From 2012–2014, she failed to sign anyone that upper management considered significant. In late 2014, she was reassigned to a position as Vice President in Charge of Marketing where her primary duty was to promote the company at book conventions. Upon reassignment, she promptly resigned from the company and brought suit for sexual harassment and constructive discharge.

It is undisputed by either side that Moore and Capella had a consensual sexual relationship which ended in late 2011. It is also undisputed that Mr. Moore stated on two occasions to other executives that Ms. Capella “was a good lay.” Ms. Capella was not present for these statements. It is also undisputed that Mr. Jeffrey Marx, also a vice president, stated in 2013 that she “only had her job because of her personal relationship with the boss.” Sandy Alder, also a vice president is quoted as saying in front of three subordinates with Ms. Capella present that Capella “slept her way to the middle.” Lastly, one of these three subordinates, Victor Johnson, asked her on an occasion in early 2014, “Could I sleep with you to get a promotion?” He later apologized and said he was joking.

Educational Books’ Executive Handbook has a strong anti-harassment policy. The handbook also provides for a complaint procedure by filing an official complaint which, at the executive level, is sent to Mr. Moore for investigation and action. Ms. Capella did not ever file such a form.

Note: For more information about how the Oral Argument Presentation will be conducted in the course, refer to the Course Project information.

  Here is the post that one member submitted. 

In the oral argument fact pattern for the Capella vs Educational Books suit of sexual harassment and constructive discharge there is no indication that Ms. Capella was reassigned due to the previous relationship with Mr. Moore. The argument states “In 2012, Moore, her mentor, promoted her to vice president in charge of author relations.” and  goes onto state ” From 2012–2014, she failed to sign anyone that upper management considered significant. In late 2014, she was reassigned to a position as Vice President in Charge of Marketing where her primary duty was to promote the company at book conventions.” after which Ms. Capella resigned. Nothing is stated regarding her resignation being as a result of the ended relationship or the feelings of the other members of the leadership team. Additionally, it wasn’t until after the resignation that Ms. Capella made the claims and filed the suit. While Ms. Capella had every right be be in a harassment free environment, governed my the company policy, she never filed a complaint about harassment while employed. 

Arguing for Ms. Capella:

In the oral argument fact pattern for the Capella vs Educational Books suit of sexual harassment and constructive discharge it is stated, “It is also undisputed that Mr. Moore stated on two occasions to other executives that Ms. Capella “was a good lay.” Ms. Capella was not present for these statements. It is also undisputed that Mr. Jeffrey Marx, also a vice president, stated in 2013 that she “only had her job because of her personal relationship with the boss.” Sandy Alder, also a vice president is quoted as saying in front of three subordinates with Ms. Capella present that Capella “slept her way to the middle.” Lastly, one of these three subordinates, Victor Johnson, asked her on an occasion in early 2014, “Could I sleep with you to get a promotion?” He later apologized and said he was joking.” Most of these occurrences could constitute sexual harassment if the statements were deemed as harassing to Ms. Capella. Perhaps she should have filed a complaint at the time of the statements she was present for if she indeed felt sexually harassed? 

Opinion:

In this case both Ms. Capella and the leadership of Educational Books conducted themselves poorly. In the case of Ms. Capella, she should not have been in the sexual relationship with Mr. Moore from the beginning, and if she actually felt harassed she should have filed the complaint then regardless of Mr. Moore’s involvement in the complaint review. 

In the case of the Educational Books leadership, Mr. Moore should not have been in a sexual relationship with Ms. Capella, a subordinate, nor should the other leaders and coworkers have made the statements about Ms. Capella’s advancement being tied to her relationship with Mr. Moore. 

Additionally, since the advancement of Ms. Capella came only after the relationship with Mr. Moore ended there was no immediate evidence of quid pro quo, other than in the perception of others within the organization. 

Given the evidence presented I would lean toward finding for the Educational Books company and against Ms. Capella. 

Thanks!

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Student 2:

It is undisputed by either side that Moore and Capella had a consensual sexual relationship which ended in late 2011. It is also undisputed that Mr. Moore stated on two occasions to other executives that Ms. Capella “was a good lay.” Ms. Capella was not present for these statements. It is also undisputed that Mr. Jeffrey Marx, also a vice president, stated in 2013 that she “only had her job because of her personal relationship with the boss.” Sandy Alder, also a vice president is quoted as saying in front of three subordinates with Ms. Capella present that Capella “slept her way to the middle.” Lastly, one of these three subordinates, Victor Johnson, asked her on an occasion in early 2014, “Could I sleep with you to get a promotion?” He later apologized and said he was joking.

I don’t think Ms. Capella should have never been terminated. It’s her fault that she proceeded with this relationship with her boss . It’s sad to see us women have to go through these circumstances to get a promotion. Even with the company she works for like should take proper action going forth about work relations and sexual harassment. Harassment is serious matter no one should be ashamed or shunned from this. 

https://courserooma.capella.edu/bbcswebdav/institution/MBA/MBA6249/170100/Course_Files/cf_MBA6249_fact_pattern.html

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