Smith v. Rock-Tenn Servs., Inc., No. 15-5534 (6th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In 2010, plaintiff started work at defendant’s Murfreesboro plant and was informed about the company’s sexual harassment policy. Plaintiff observed Leonard “come up behind” another man, “grab him in the butt,” and then sniff his finger. Twice, Leonard came up behind plaintiff and touched him inappropriately; both times plaintiff warned him. A month later, Leonard came up behind him again, “grabbed [him] by [the] hips and started hunching on [him]” so that Leonard’s “privates” were “up against [Plaintiff’s] tail.” Plaintiff confronted Leonard, then reported the incident. Although there had been other incidents, Leonard was suspended for two days and given a form, stating, “No contact with any employees that would be interpreted as sexual harassment.” Plaintiff did not return to work. He suffered anxiety attacks. His short-term disability insurance ran out. Plaintiff’s licensed clinical social worker diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder. Leonard was fired after he admitted in a deposition that he had “mooned” or touched other men in the workplace. Plaintiff filed suit, alleging sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and retaliation under the Tennessee Human Rights Act and hostile work environment and constructive discharge under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2. The court granted partial summary judgment, rejecting the retaliation and constructive discharge claims. The Sixth Circuit affirmed a jury verdict and award of $300,000 on his Title VII claim.