Domino’s Loses Appeal in Sexual Harassment Case

The bill for Domino’s Pizza is $237,000 plus attorney fees now that the Supreme Court has let stand a sex-harassment award won by a former pizza shop manager from Florida.

The justices, without comment, rejected an appeal in which Domino’s argued that it was wrongly held legally responsible for the harassment David Papa received from his boss, area supervisor Beth Carrier.

The nation’s highest court already is studying a case from Boca Raton in which it is expected to clarify when employers may be held responsible for the misconduct of an employee’s supervisor. But Clinton administration lawyers told the justices that Papa’s victory would not be affected by the outcome of that case.

According to lower court rulings, Papa was managing a Domino’s shop in Port Richey in 1988 when Carrier began harassing him – touching him in inappropriate ways and inviting him to live with her.

When Papa eventually threatened to report her conduct, Carrier told Papa she would “get” him. She fired him six days later.

Papa and the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Domino’s, alleging that the company had violated a federal anti-bias law that bans on-the-job sexual harassment.

A federal trial court ruled in 1995 that Domino’s could be held responsible for the hostile work environment Papa worked in. It also ruled that Papa, who had since moved to Deltona, was the target of illegal retailation and had suffered what lawyers call “quid pro quo harassment” because his rejection of Carrier’s sexual advances resulted in his firing.

The trial court awarded him $237,257.52 in back pay and ordered Domino’s to post a written sexual harassment policy in each of its shops across the nation for two years. Domino’s also was ordered to pay the lawyers fees Papa had incurred.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the trial court ruling last April.