Swenson v. Northern Corp Insurance

The plaintiff was a secretary at the insurance company, Northern Corp., and was promoted against the general manager, Krasbeth's wishes.  He wanted a man to fill the position, so after her promotion he constantly made sexist and derogatory remarks to Swenson.  The manager then demoted her to a lesser position, for less money, and did not allow her to apply for the new positions that become available.  Furthermore, her demotions and denial of applying for new positions were not due to poor work performance.  Swenson tried to talk to Krasbeth about the demotion, and he refused to speak with her.  Sweson was a recovering alcoholic, and Krasbeth was aware of this.  Swenson then quit and sued the company and Krasbeth for numerous claims, including IIED.  The majority of the court found that the conduct of Krasbeth constitutes outrageous conduct based on the words used, and the context and background of the words used.  The significant background factors the court identified are 1. The position of authority Krasbeth had over Swenson as her manager, and 2. Krasbeth's knowledge of Swenson's emotional state being in recovery.  The court remanded for trial on the IIED claim.

The concurring opinion by Justice Levine,

Sex discrimination is enough, it "debases, devalues, and despoils the victim."  Additionally, it strikes twice: 1. the act itself, and 2. the realization that we are helpless to overcome the act, undo it, or change it.