Ravenscroft v. Williams Scotsman (USA)

Jere Ravenscroft sued his former employer, defendant Williams Scotsman, Inc. (“Scotsman”), alleging violations of the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (“CFEPA”), Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60 et seq., and the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq., and alleging the state common law torts of intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress. 

Ravenscroft is a gay male who began working as a truck driver at Scotsman in January 1992. Over the next decade, he received positive evaluations and worked without incident. Around July 2010, Scotsman hired Brandon Cowles (“Cowles”). Almost immediately after being hired, Cowles began calling Ravenscroft “faggot” and other homosexual slurs regularly, and making “derisory comments” about “the types of sexual acts that gay men engage in.” Ravenscroft immediately notified his supervisors, Lisa Roosa (“Roosa”) and Marvin Gilbert (“Gilbert”), who told Ravenscroft that they could not afford to lose a driver so he would “have to deal with it.” Around September 2010, Cowles resigned from Scotsman. In September 2011, Cowles secured a job with Scotsman‟s subcontractor. He frequently visited Scotsman‟s business facility and, so that others could hear, began regularly calling Ravenscroft a “faggot” and making other offensive statements related to Ravenscroft‟s sexual orientation. Ravenscroft again complained to management, who informed him that they could not tell their subcontractor who to hire. Ravenscroft then complained to Scotsman‟s Vice President of Human Resources, Marti Fuller (“Fuller”), who stated she would make sure that Cowles would no longer do any work for Scotsman.

Around July 2012, Ravenscroft’s brother died and  Ravenscroft applied for and was granted a personal leave of absence through November 2012. While on leave, Ravenscroft regularly received calls from  Roosa and . Gilbert questioning him about his work status, during which they made a number of derogatory statements about his leave, including suggesting that his doctor‟s note was false and accusing him of abusing the system. After Ravenscroft returned from his leave, he wrote an email to Fuller complaining about Roosa and Gilbert‟s actions. Ravenscroft alleges on information and belief that  Roosa and Gilbert obtained a copy of this email. On March 5, 2013, Ravenscroft was called into a meeting with  Roosa and Scotsman‟s Regional Vice President, Terry Richardson (“Richardson”).  Roosa and Richardson screamed at Ravenscroft during the meeting, and when Ravenscroft said he was being targeted for complaining to Human Resources about various issues, Richardson screamed at him, “Try suing this company and see what happens to you . . . I‟m not afraid of you.” Ravenscroft stood and said he needed to step out of the room for a moment. Richardson screamed at him, “Good. Get up, get out, and don‟t come back.” Scotsman terminated Ravenscroft‟s employment.

Ravenscroft sued but lost his lawsuit because his hostile work environment claim was time-barred, as the underlying sexual harassment occurred over 180 days prior to his filing an administrative complaint and the continuing violations doctrine did not apply. He also lost his IIED claim because the facts above are apparently not “extreme or outrageous.”

Ravenscroft v. Williams Scotsman