Hostile Environment

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Higher burdens in SOX whistleblower retaliation claims - 5 tips for employers

Two recent decisions have clarified the heightened burden facing employers addressing whistleblower retaliation claims under Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). On October 9, 2014, in Fordham v. Fannie Mae,...more

“Super” Anti-Harassment Policy May Create Unanticipated Liability

Ordinarily, employers think of anti-harassment policies as a means of defending themselves against harassment claims rather than a source of liability. However, a recent decision from a U.S. District Court in Connecticut...more

Eighth Circuit Holds That Supervisor's Bizarre Conduct Does Not Constitute Discrimination

In Rickard v. Swedish Match North America, Inc., the Eighth Circuit held that a supervisor's allegedly inappropriate behavior did not rise to the level of actionable discrimination based on age and sex. The case reminds us...more

Employer’s Super Anti-Harassment Policy May Increase Its Liability

A federal court in Connecticut recently concluded that a fired employee could have a valid disability harassment claim based on statements prohibiting all harassment contained in the employer’s personnel manual. The company...more

Employer's "Super Policy" Against Harassment Requires Employer to Protect Employee Beyond That Which is Required by Law

A Costco employee suffered from Tourette's syndrome, and made complaints to management about the way his supervisors and others were treating him. He later filed charges with the Connecticut Human Rights Organization as well...more

Bullies at Work? It’s Time to Take Action Because It May Be More Common Than You Think

You may recall some recent high profile stories in the media involving teenagers committing suicide as a result of being bullied by their peers. However, bullying is not limited to the playground or teenagers engaged in...more

Ninth Circuit Dismisses Worker’s “‘Sweeping Conclusory Allegations’ of Unequal Treatment”

McClain v. County of Clark, No. 12-16888 (October 10, 2014): The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently sided with an employer in a case in which the former employee claimed that he was subjected to ageist remarks. According...more

Tennessee's Healthy Workplace Act: Extending Protection Beyond the Federal Protected Class

In the employment context, abuse suffered by employees in the workplace occurs more frequently than one would believe. According to a February 2014 survey from the Workplace Bullying Institute, 27% of Americans have suffered...more

Toxic Work Cultures are (Really, Really) Bad for Business: Tech Sector Missteps Serve as Reminders for Us All

Rarely do we see an industry of professionals engage in misconduct as egregious as what we are seeing today in the tech sector. The intoxicating cocktail of power, money and prestige has combined to put many female...more

EEOC Sues County Fair Farm for Sexual Harassment

Federal Agency Charges County Fair Farm With Subjecting Female Farmworkers to Groping, Verbal Abuse, Solicitations for Sex - BOSTON -- County Fair Farm, a farm and produce wholesaler located in Jefferson, Maine,...more

When Employees Solve Problems With Their Fists

Generally speaking, human resources professionals and business executives have become quite adept at dealing with employee claims for illegal harassment. For example, just about any HR manager can provide a definition of a...more

Huddle House Sued by EEOC for Racial Harassment

Managers of Pine Bluff Restaurant Subjected Black Employee to Racially Hostile Work Environment, Federal Agency Charges - PINE BLUFF, Ark. - H2H Enterprises, Inc., dba Huddle House, violated federal law by subjecting a...more

4 Ways to Ensure Ethics and Compliance Training is Effective

Many of us in the ethics and compliance training market were gearing up for our fourth quarter AB 1825 training campaigns when California Governor Jerry Brown threw us a curve ball. In case you didn’t hear about it, on...more

EEOC Sues Mel-K Management Company for Race- and Sex-Based Harassment and Retaliation

Manager Hurled Racial and Sex-Based Epithets at Workers, Fired a Harassment Victim for Complaining, Federal Agency Charges - CLEVELAND - Mel-K Management Company violated federal law by subjecting a class of employees...more

EEOC Sues Carolina Metal Finishing for Racial Harassment

Bishopville Plant Subjected African-American Employee to Racial Abuse and Fired Him for Complaining, Federal Agency Charges - COLUMBIA, S.C. - Carolina Metal Finishing, LLC, a Bishopville, S.C.-based metal finishing...more

EEOC Sues VXI Global Solutions for Systemic Sexual Harassment of Call Center Staff

Supervisors Openly Subjected Both Female & Male Staff to Constant Sexual Propositions, Graphic Pictures, Foul Language & Groping, Says Federal Agency - LOS ANGELES - VXI Global Solutions, a provider of call center...more

Hostile Doesn’t Mean MEAN: Understanding Employment Law

Dealing with employees also means dealing with their misconceptions about employment law. This blog entry highlights some of these misconceptions and reminds employers of the significance of employment at will....more

Another Approaching Benchslap for EEOC?

In a positively delightful “man bites dog” story, a former EEOC investigator just filed suit against the EEOC alleging race discrimination, racially hostile work environment, and retaliation in violation of Title VII and the...more

EEOC Sues Costco for Sex Discrimination

Federal Agency Says Warehouse Giant Fostered a Sexually Hostile Work Environment When It Failed to Protect Female From Stalking Customer - CHICAGO -- Warehouse retail giant Costco violated federal law by fostering a...more

Facially Sex-Neutral Statements and Conduct May Support a Sexually Hostile Work Environment Claim

The Second Circuit’s recent decision in Moll v. Telesector Resources Group, Inc. is a good reminder to employers that a sexually hostile work environment claim can be based on more than just sexually explicit or sexually...more

Termination of Police Officer Whose ADHD Limits Ability to Get Along With Others Does Not Violate ADA, Ninth Circuit Says

In Weaving v. City of Hillsboro (--- F.3d ----, C.A.9 (Or.), August 15, 2014), the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was asked to decide whether, consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the city...more

Court Throws Out "Me Too" Harassment Claims

One might think displays of Confederate flags and nooses, racial slurs and evidence of malicious graffiti and epithets is enough to establish a racially hostile work environment. However, a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of...more

EEOC Sues MountainKing Potatoes for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

Supervisors Harassed Female Farmworkers Over Period of Time, Then Punished Them for Complaining, Federal Agency Charges - DENVER - MountainKing Potatoes, the name under which Smokin' Spuds, Inc. and Farming Technology,...more

Illinois Municipality Concludes Probe on Hostile Work Environment

Blowing the whistle does not always need to involve fraud and malfeasance. Sometimes a culture of apathy allows a hostile work environment to develop that can only be addressed with outside intervention. Employees and...more

Rampant Sexual Misconduct in Indiana Prison Shows Pitfalls for Employers

Believe it or not, this is not a scene from the new season of Orange is the New Black. It’s actually the opening lines from Orton-Bell v. Indiana, No. 13-1235 (7th Cir. July 21, 2014), an opinion authored by Judge Manion, and...more

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