Hostile Environment

News & Analysis as of

Speakers Only: Governmental Entities Must be Engaged in “Communicative Activity” to Qualify for Anti-SLAPP Protection

On January 22, the Washington Supreme Court decided Henne v. City of Yakima, its first decision interpreting Washington’s anti-SLAPP statute (SLAPP is short for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). This case has...more

Fourth Circuit Says Verbal Conduct Can Rise to Level of Actionable Harassment

Not all offensive conduct in the workplace rises to the level of an actionable sexual harassment claim. Federal courts have repeatedly held that in order to cross the line into an offensive working environment, the conduct...more

Sexualized Conduct Absent Sexual Desire Not Actionable Harassment Under Title VII

In its Oncale decision, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that same sex sexual harassment is actionable under Title VII. However, the Court qualified this decision by stating that the harassment must be motivated by sexual...more

Workplace Harassment Still a Major Problem Experts Tell EEOC at Meeting

EEOC Chair Announces Task Force to Develop Strategies to Prevent and Correct Harassment - WASHINGTON-Workplace harassment is alleged in approximately 30 percent of all charges filed with the U.S. Equal Employment...more

Two Thoughts On The Faruqi Sexual Harassment Trial

I hope that everyone is following the Marchuk v. Faruqi & Faruqi sexual harassment trial that is taking place as we speak in Manhattan. If you haven’t been, then now is the time to start!...more

EEOC Sues DHD Ventures and Affiliated Companies for Racial Harassment and Retaliation

Real Estate Management Company Fired Employees After Complaining About Harassment, Federal Agency Charges - GREENVILLE, S.C. - DHD Ventures Management Company, Inc., a New York-based real estate management company,...more

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

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