NewCorp employed Sam as a supervisor of electrical manufacturing for automotive under-dash wiring harnesses. Sam’s department employed about 100 men and women to create the wiring and connect it to different universal couplings so that speedometers, oil gauges, and other instruments would work. The final product, an under-dash wiring harness, was sent to the assembly plant for installation.
Sam developed a relationship with one of his employees, Paula, and they began dating. Paula later ended the relationship with Sam. Sam wanted to continue dating Paula, and he began exhibiting unwelcome behaviors, even after she told him to stop. Sam suggested that Paula’s work might be suffering from a lack of interest.
Paula decided she could no longer work with Sam and applied for a transfer to the wire-coating department, which was not under his control. Sam blocked the transfer, citing evidence that chemicals used in wire coatings could harm an early-state fetus. Because Paula could become pregnant, Sam argued, NewCorp could not take the chance of being liable for causing a child to be born with a birth defect. Paula believed this was Sam’s way of controlling her and that, even if it was not, it was illegal discrimination.
What liability does NewCorp have in this situation? What actions might NewCorp take? Identify which legal principles, such as statutory or case law, support your responses.
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