Sears policy on employee dating
In an affidavit attached to his Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Sarsha claims he met his second wife while they were both employed at the Springfield store and dated her openly. This court does not sit to review a company's business judgments; unless Sarsha's gender mattered to Sears--that is, unless, under the circumstances, he would have been kept on in a management position if he were a woman--he is not entitled to relief under Title VII. Rea Magnet Wire Co., Inc., 824 F.2d 557, 560-61 (7th Cir.), cert.
Fifer testified during his deposition that, during the time he was the manager of the Springfield store, he never heard of a policy pertaining to dating. Thus, the failure to discipline or discharge Schaertl is proof of unequal treatment based on sex. Sears is entitled to enforce a no-dating policy (if one exists) against supervisors, who by virtue of their managerial positions are expected to know better, rather than subordinates.
After reviewing these documents, Allen consulted with Taylor and David Rich, the current regional personnel manager. In addition, Taylor allegedly told Sarsha that he drove "an old man's car" and "should have shorter hair." We do not believe there is a presumption that long hair is an indicia of advancing age 2 The record, including Sears's Statement of Material Facts appended to its Memorandum in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment, refers both to an alleged no-dating policy and to instances where Sarsha was allegedly warned not to date co-workers.
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Sarsha also claims the company did not have an informal policy. According to Sarsha, if Sears had a policy forbidding a supervisor from dating a subordinate, ipso facto the policy must also forbid a subordinate from dating a supervisor.
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Allen, the company's regional director, testified in his deposition that Sears's policy would permit Sarsha to have a nonsexual social relationship with a co-worker depending on "the general perception of inappropriate activity or conduct in that particular case." Zimmerman's testimony suggests the policy would allow employees to become more involved (go out on dates and perhaps engage in sexual foreplay), up to the point they were informed it was creating a problem at work. The evidence presented by Sears in support of its motion for summary judgment conflicts with Sarsha's version of events, and the result is a genuine dispute in this case.