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Tafoya v. State Human Rights Com'n

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 2

October 15, 2013

David and Faris TAFOYA, husband and wife, Appellants,
v.
STATE of Washington HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION, Respondent.

As Amended Nov. 13, 2013.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Don W. Taylor, Owens Davies Fristoe Taylor & Schultz PS, Olympia, WA, for Appellants.

Chad Corwyn Standifer, Office of the Attorney General, Olympia, WA, Isaac Burton Williamson, Attorney General's Office, Olympia, WA, for Respondents.

DALTON, J.P.T.[1]

[177 Wn.App. 219] ¶ 1 Mary Gossard rented a home from David and Faris Tafoya.[2] AFTER SEVERAL MONTHS of enduring David's sexual comments and inappropriate behavior, Gossard filed a complaint with the Washington State Human Rights Commission (Commission), alleging that the Tafoyas engaged in sexual harassment and retaliation. The Commission filed a formal complaint against the Tafoyas. An administrative law judge (ALJ) found that the Tafoyas violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), RCW 49.60 et seq., by engaging in sex discrimination and retaliation. The Tafoyas appeal arguing that the ALJ's final decision and order (1) misapplies the law and (2) is not supported by substantial evidence. We hold that the ALJ correctly applied the law and that the findings are supported by substantial evidence, and we affirm.

FACTS

¶ 2 The Tafoyas own property in Thurston County. The property includes the Tafoyas' home and a rental home. A fence separates the Tafoyas' property from the rental property. In March 2006, Gossard and the Tafoyas signed a one-year lease.

¶ 3 David engaged in numerous instances of inappropriate behavior with Gossard during the time she lived in the rental home. The first episode occurred while Gossard was signing the lease: David asked his wife if she would mind if David chased Gossard around the pond on the property. Later, while David was helping Gossard move her piano, he made a comment about women being stupid. David also hugged Gossard and touched her buttocks.

¶ 4 David made several sexually inappropriate comments to Gossard: When Gossard broke her ankle, David brought [177 Wn.App. 220] her dinner and said, " Ive seen your pussy." [3] Admin. Record (AR) at 365. After hearing Gossard play the piano, David told Gossard, " ‘ Your piano playing was beautiful. I made love to you several times while I was listening to you. I could even taste you.’ " AR at 364. David also called Gossard late at night and asked her to come over to the house and " party." AR at 366. David told Gossard that " some nights he thought about her, watched pornography, and masturbated." AR at 365.

¶ 5 David made several, less explicit comments that made Gossard feel uncomfortable. David told Gossard that he thought about her all the time. He also told Gossard that Faris was going through menopause and they were no longer having sex. AR 365. One night, David called Gossard and told her to come over to his house. Gossard responded that she could not because she was in her bathrobe.

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David told her she should just come over in her bathrobe. Gossard refused. After Gossard's friend stayed the night at her house, David made a comment implying that Gossard was a prostitute. Once, David poked her in the stomach and commented that she was " gaining weight and looked like the Pillsbury doughboy."

¶ 6 In addition to his comments, David's behavior made Gossard feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, and afraid. One afternoon, Gossard went to the Tafoyas' house to ask directions to the post office and David answered the door completely nude. Another afternoon,

[David] invited [Gossard] to see his art in his [recreational vehicle (RV) ].... Gossard saw that the paintings were of sexual subjects, including [Faris] in a bikini touching herself and a woman with her legs spread open. [David] pushed ... Gossard ...

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