Is Your Company Prepared to Respond Promptly to an Employee Harassment Claim?


A recent employment law decision, EEOC v. Xerxes Corporation, No. 10-1156 (4th Cir. April 26, 2011), reminds employers that it is important to promptly and effectively address allegations of workplace harassment.

The Facts of the Case

In July 2008, the EEOC filed a lawsuit on behalf of three African-American employees of Xerxes Corporation’s manufacturing plant in Williamsport, Maryland. The complaint alleged a hostile work environment on the basis of race in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Specifically, the complaint asserted that the employees were the targets of racial slurs and racially derogatory comments, pranks and practical jokes, and threatening notes from their co-workers.

According to the opinion, the company had an anti-harassment policy in place, prohibiting “Sexual, Racial, and Other Objectionable Conduct or Unlawful Harassment.” The policy provided specific examples of prohibited conduct and instructed employees to “Immediately report the incident to your supervisor and plant manager.”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Beth Lincow Cole | Attorney Advertising

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