In San Antonio Water System v. Nicholas, 461 S.W.3d 131 (Tex. 2015), the Texas Supreme Court overruled a jury verdict and held that an employee who admonished a manager for repeatedly asking two other employees out to lunch could not reasonably have believed the conduct she was “opposing” constituted sexual harassment. Although the admonishment occurred at a meeting arranged by the employer for the very purpose of warning the manager to cease his conduct, the employer’s sense that the conduct was risky and might lead to sexual harassment did not mean sexual harassment had yet occurred. The conduct “may have been unwelcome,” the Court stated, “but no reasonable person could believe they constituted sexual harassment actionable under the law.” Thus, the admonished manager’s allegedly retaliatory actions against the employee did not constitute illegal retaliation under Ch. 21.
This is an amazing case and shows how hostile the Texas Supreme Court is to the working person. Just be warned that if the Supreme Court hears your case your odds of winning are extremely low. The Supreme Court seems to go out of its way to help employers at the expense of hard working and honest employees. This is an amazing case because the employee was told to admonish the manager, yet she was fired for doing just what she was told to do and the Supreme Court states no reasonable person could believe this was sexual harassment. Unfortunately, the Texas Supreme Court seems have different “reasonable persons” than most working Texans. Remember your vote does matter. Employment lawyers everywhere are decrying this case as an assault against the very laws that were passed to protect workers from discrimination.