Despite finding evidence that a terminated employee had performed her job poorly, a New York federal appeals court decided that the employee’s sexual harassment claims should proceed to trial.
Renee Mihalik, who started working as a vice president at Credit Agricole Cheuvreux North America in July 2007, alleges that she was fired in April 2008 in retaliation for opposing sexual harassment from her boss, the company’s CEO, Ian Peacock.
Mihalik claims that Peacock created a sexually hostile work environment by making suggestive comments to her, commenting on her appearance and telling her she looked “sexy,” and propositioning her for sex on two occasions.
The appeals court, which said a lower court judge was wrong in dismissing the lawsuit in September 2010, said, “If a jury so found, it would be free to infer that Cheuvreux is using Mihalik’s poor performance now as a mere cover-up for retaliation. Even a poorly performing employee is entitled to an environment free from sexual harassment.”