Hostile Environment

News & Analysis as of

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

Seventh Circuit Says One Use of “N-Word” Does Not Create Hostile Work Environment

Under Title VII, single acts of verbal abuse typically do not rise to the level of legally actionable harassment. Only when these behaviors are repeated over a discrete period of time will courts consider them to create a...more

Hostile Work Environment Case Gets Additional Fourth Circuit Scrutiny

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to an en banc rehearing (in which all judges on the court will hear the case) of Boyer-Liberto v. Fountainebleau Corp. after a three-judge panel of the court ruled in May 2014...more

“Me Too” Evidence Doesn’t Cut It

In a case of first impression, Adams v. Austal, USA, LLC, No. 12-11507 (11th Cir. June 17, 2014), the Eleventh Circuit addressed whether an employee may rely on evidence of racial harassment of which he is not personally...more

The CIA’s Epic Failure in Protecting Employees: Culture of Accountability Begins with Mandatory Workplace Harassment Training and...

You’ve probably seen the multiple stories and blogs that were published last week on the sad state of the workplace at the CIA. I read this post on the PBS Newshour site, noting that 15 CIA employees were found to have...more

Two May Be Company, But Two Racial Slurs in Two Days is Not Enough for a Hostile Work Environment Claim

Often an employer is forced to defend a lawsuit filed by an employee complaining that he or she was subjected to a hostile work environment based on slurs. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for...more

The Employment Law Authority - May/June 2014

In This Issue: - Immigration. New proposal aimed at attracting highly-skilled immigrants. - State Round-Up. Learn about the latest employment law news in your state. - Traditional. J. Hamilton Stewart and Matthew...more

How to Count HWEs

Former employees raise long lists of bad acts, going back years, to support claims for hostile work environment (“HWE”). How far back may an employee go for stories to support a HWE claim? All the way back. But only if the...more

Employment Law Update - Danger Ahead: Employer Liability For Third-Party Harassment

On April 29, 2014, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that employers can be liable for third-party harassment under a negligence standard. In doing so, the court joined other circuits in establishing that employers can...more

Fourth Circuit Says Co-Worker's Use of Racially Derogative Terms Did Not Create Hostile Work Environment

Not every offensive act in the workplace constitutes actionable harassment under Title VII. In order to rise to the level of a hostile and offensive working environment, the conduct must be sufficiently severe and pervasive...more

Think Third Party Harassment Can’t Harm You? Think Again

On April 29, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s ruling of Freeman v. Dal-Tile Corp., No. 13-1481, 2014 WL 1678422 (4th Cir. Apr. 29, 2014) addressed third-party harassment. The Court held...more

Yelling At Employee And Throwing Book In Her Direction Not Sufficient To Support Hostile Work Environment Claim

In Brooks v. Grundmann, a federal court of appeals in the District of Columbia held that a manager’s conduct amounted to no more than “ordinary tribulations of the workplace” and was thus insufficient to support a minority...more

Fourth Circuit Rules that Employers Can be Liable for Third Party Harassment of Their Employees

In Freeman v. Dal-Tile Corp., 2014 WL 1678422 (4th Cir. April 29, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that an employer can be liable for third party harassment of its employees. The court...more

Anti-Discrimination Laws Going “Intern”-ational? New York City Extends Its Human Rights Law to Unpaid Interns

As we reported last October, a federal court in New York found that an unpaid intern could not bring a hostile work environment sexual harassment claim pursuant to the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”). (Wang v....more

New York City Council Votes to Extend New York City Human Rights Law’s Protections Against Discrimination to Interns

On Wednesday, the New York City Council voted 50-0 to extend the New York City Human Rights Law’s protections to interns. Last October, we reported on a Federal court decision dismissing an unpaid intern’s hostile work...more

Social Media Is Part of Today’s Workplace but its Use May Raise Employment Discrimination Concerns

Experts Tell EEOC That Use of Social Media by Employers, Applicants and Employees May Implicate the Laws EEOC Enforces - WASHINGTON-The use of social media has become pervasive in today's workplace and, as a result, is...more

Employment Newsletter - March 2014: Practical Tips on Creating an Effective Unlawful Harassment Policy

It has been a long time since the 1991 Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings brought the issue of sexual harassment to the forefront of public consciousness. Hundreds of thousands of unlawful harassment claims...more

Not all offensive behavior is actionable

There are a lot of good reasons for employers to want to eliminate workplace confrontations. Disputes among employees affect productivity, make for an unhappy and unprofessional work environment, and can escalate to more...more

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