It's about time that "The Good Wife" took on a good ol' fashioned sexual harassment case. This week's episode puts Lockhart & Gardner in the middle of a random paralegal's "frivolous" lawsuit against just about all of its employees.
Here's a blow-by-blow of this season's fourth installment, "Outside the Bubble":
Episode Recap (Spoiler Alert!):
The episode opens from the point of view of a previously unnamed paralegal, "Chrissy," who is running various errands for the firm's partners as well as notifying them of her sexual harassment lawsuit. Lockhart & Gardner's action team (read: Alicia, Will, and the somewhat menacing David Lee) quickly pivots and hires a very wired sexual harassment defense attorney (played by "True Blood" alum Carrie Preston). Diane's subplot involved the Second Amendment, getting married, and looking like she just ate a rusty spur after she learned that Alicia is plotting to leave the firm. Also, Eli fights with Alicia's mother-in-law Jackie about decorating.
There was nothing really "ripped from the headlines" in this case. Unfortunately, workplace sexual harassment cases are about as common as they come, which is why this episode didn't feel particularly inspired.
While there can be a sort of gamesmanship to filing employee discrimination or sexual harassment suits, the law does not support the "Good Wife" system of sexual interest negating legitimate claims of sexual harassment. This comes to bear when Kalinda, who is really Lockhart & Gardner's best employee, drops that "Chrissy" has taken an interest in her, which seemingly wraps up the case. Here's the difference: Kalinda is just another employee at the office, while the creepy old partner who constantly exposes himself is her supervisor -- he can fire her or make an actual change in her position.
This episode was a bit light on facts, but it did present many different forms of possible sexual harassment:
- Personal questions about sex (including virginity or pregnancy plans);
- Exposing one's genitals;
- Hostile work environment; and
- Sexual jokes, humor, or gestures.
Any one of these can make a decent sexual harassment case under Title VII.
Indemnify: Diane asks the firm to indemnify her from the sexual harassment lawsuit, basically saying that the firm will take legal liability for anything Chrissy's suit leveled at Diane.
Pretty light on facts this week, and a very skewed treatment of workplace sexual harassment. Mostly drama, very little law. Tune in next week when Diane starts slowly poisoning Alicia with deadly eye daggers.
What did you think of this week's episode of "The Good Wife"? Is the show guilty of making any legal mistakes? Check back here for more legal recaps of "The Good Wife," and send us a tweet at @FindLawConsumer with the hashtag #TheGoodWife.
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