The Danger of “Working while Female”

By Alexis A. Moore 
Survivors In Action (SIA)

I wish our government really cared about women, I have worked with Dawn for 3 years and prior to that she was fighting this case to the US Supreme Court and did not get heard but she will keep trying.

Dawn Martin Esq
Specializing in employment discrimination, civil rights and tort law
“Working for Justice in the World”

Washington, D.C. – D.C. Attorney Dawn Martin is urging an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that would expressly protect victims of stalking and domestic violence against employment discrimination. “Many of these victims are afraid to let their employers know that they are being stalked or are victims of domestic violence,” Martin said, “They are afraid of being fired. No woman should have to choose between her job and her safety.” 78% of stalking victims are women. 54% of female murder victims reported their stalkers to the police before being killed by them. New York City Human Rights Law does protect these victims against discrimination. Martin says that a federal statute should as well, since courts may deny the protection. Today, she filed an appeal in her own litigation, Martin v. Howard University, to try to correct, what she says, was an improper and unjust denial of that protection.

When Martin was a Law Professor at Howard University, she was stalked by a delusional, homeless, serial campus stalker, Leonard Harrison. Harrison was searching for the physical embodiment of his “fantasy” wife — a fictional female character in a book, written by the renowned Professor, Derrick Bell. Howard did not ban the stalker from Law School building, despite advice from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department to do so and its own established Campus Police banning procedures. Further, Howard refused to renew Prof. Martin’s teaching contract. Martin sued, alleging sexual harassment/hostile work environment and retaliation. In 1999, the U.S. District for D.C. set precedent in Martin, holding that an employer can be held liable for the sexual harassment of an employee by a non-employee, if it knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take reasonable steps to stop it. Martin v. Howard University. 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19516, 1999 WL 1295339 (DD.C. 1999)

In 2006, a jury agreed with Prof. Martin that Harrison’s harassment did create a “hostile work environment” and that that Howard did not take reasonable steps to end it; however, the jury asked for a clearer legal definition of “sexual harassment” and the judge refused to provide it. The confused jurors then concluded that Harrison’s harassment of Prof. Martin was not based on her sex or sexual in nature. This meant that she was not “protected” by Title VII. Martin is appealing District Court Judge Thomas Hogan’s October 8, 2010 decision: 1) refusing her motion for a new trial based on the Court’s failure to adhere to its own 1999 decision that Harrison’s harassment was based on sex and/or sexual in nature and to instruct the jury in accordance with that holding; 2) imposing Howard’s litigation costs, of $10,000, on her; and 3) failing to order Howard to pay the undisputed $364,0000 in attorney hours spent on drafting her motions to compel discovery, which she won, after Howard withheld crucial documents in the case for years. Ms. Martin said, “Courts do not generally impose the Defendant’s costs on the Plaintiff. I’m sure that Howard paid its outside law firm more than $10,000 just to try to get that much from me. More importantly, it sets precedent that will discourage and punish other plaintiffs in civil rights cases. It’s shocking and ironic that Howard University would establish precedent that punishes civil rights plaintiffs by imposing the defendant’s fees on them and by refusing to punish defendants that withhold evidence from plaintiffs to delay or destroy their cases. This precedent is going to hurt plaintiffs in all employment discrimination cases, including those based on race, national origin, religion, disability and age, as well as sex.”

The National Organization of Women (NOW) and the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) filed an Amicus Brief in Martin.  See  (documentary, including then NOW President Kim Gandy, Prof. Derrick Bell and a former Howard Security Officer); Good Morning America


2 Responses

  1. […] I sent a copy of a Press Release and blogged regarding a Proposed Amendment to Title VII The Danger of “Working while Female” regarding anti stalking. Let me introduce you to a site online since 2004 named Women’s Web. […]

  2. […] I sent a copy of a Press Release and blogged regarding a Proposed Amendment to Title VII The Danger of “Working while Female” regarding anti stalking. Today I sent my 5000 outlet who in turn disseminate to their readers the […]

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