First Circuit Case Provides Useful Guidance for Employers to Fashion Appropriate Discipline for Title VII Coworker Harassment

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In a recent decision that provides employers with useful guidelines for lawfully responding to employee complaints of harassment, the First Circuit in Wilson v. Moulison North Corp. (Wilson) held that (1) applying progressive discipline in a reasonable manner generally constitutes a lawful and appropriate response to most instances of employee harassment, and (2) a coworker lacking authority to affect the terms and condition of his colleagues’ employment is not a “supervisor” under Title VII, and his or her knowledge of a harassment complaint will not be imputed to an employer, regardless of whether the individual complaining of harassment believes the coworker is an appropriate contact for such complaints.

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