Mame, I addressed that in 2 previous posts, below. I know you read at least one of them, since you responded to it.
Yes, she should have said something, she really should have. But she didn't. It's just not that easy sometimes to say that to someone, depending on the exact situation.
For what it's worth, I'm dealing with something like this right now on my new job. Not sexual, and it's not about someone I'm a direct report to. I know it will come to a head, and I'll have to request a meeting with at least one witness present. Things just need to be handled carefully, and I'm documenting my butt off day to day, because I really like my job.
Again, for what it's worth, she could have lied and said she did tell him she didn't appreciate his comments, and to stop. But then it would have been a he said/she said. Maybe she could have had a conversation in front of someone else....like who, his wife? The one who ordered her fired? I admire her that she didn't stoop to lying.
What if, hypothetically, she did say something to him, and in court he said, "she never did."
What if she did meet with him and the wife, documented the meeting, asked them to sign acknowledging all this, and they refused?
How far is a person expected to go to prove they told someone else to stop something? If she had the forethought to call a meeting, she would have to have yet another party around to witness, like her husband, or anyone else.
Sometimes you work with, or just know someone who sometimes comes out with weird, off color, or strange stuff, and at that moment you're too busy thinking about what you're doing to stop everything and have that conversation, and later on it doesn't seem worth it. Or 99% of the time the person is great and you have an overall super relationship, and you write off some weird comment as them being socially inept in some areas. Well, obviously in this case it would have been worth it, there's no denying that. However, if anyone always said to someone else everything about that person that was bothering, they'd pretty much be considered a pain in the ass, and would have to eat their lunch all by themselves.
Of course these are all "what ifs" but that's what makes up life, not "person A says xyz, and you must always respond with "lmnop". Sometimes you just laugh uncomfortably, and move on because there's too much other static going on.
It's just not, in the real world where there are all sorts on intricacies in relationships, that easy or feasible to just tell someone, "stop" and expect that to be the end of it, solved, simple as that.
From what is presented, which is all we can know, the sexual comments were all on the part of the employer.
It's unfortunate Ms. Nelson did not immediately say she was uncomfortable with him, and in a perfect world she would have. She honestly should have told him, even once she was uncomfortable, and it would have made all the difference in the world to this case.
I don't see anything anywhere that indicates anything was mutual.
In a perfectly rational world, we would all constantly be on our toes, ready to tell someone when they were stepping over a boundary. We would always be on the ready alert when someone makes a comment, regardless of whatever else we were doing/thinking at that moment.
She was wrong for not telling him upfront to stop. No excuse for that. However, I know that people simply don't do that every time they feel offended. In fact, in normal interactions, it's wise not to jump on every thing that's said to us that we don't agree with.
It's nice to think that someone would immediately say "don't say that", it's another thing living in the real world working side by side with someone that might be in her mind maybe weird and inappropriate, but no real danger.
She may have been apprehensive about saying something, not wanting to offend, afraid for her job, thinking it might just stir the pot more, that it would get the wife involved (too late), any number of reasons.
Of course there's no evidence for this, but neither is there any information available from here that indicates she did anything to encourage him with words/actions of her own.
If I'm missing something somewhere that indicates she encouraged him, or contributed to inappropriate conversations, please point it out.
He was her employer, in a position of power.
You know, you work with a group of people for 10 years, you have a type of friendship going on, maybe only a professional friendship, but you don't go 10 years without some personal dealings with others.
It's difficult to say to someone "stop that" when you get along famously 99% of the time, and there are times when you both have had a laugh over something that an outsider would scratch their head over.
The fact that this is a small business, and the offending person is your boss, makes it even more difficult for the employee. There isn't an HR dept to go to, or a supervisor. There's no one but the person who's your boss, and they could be the problem.
It's easy to say "quit, find another job" Not so easy to find another job when you're asked why you left.