Hostile Environment

News & Analysis as of

Third Circuit Finds Title IX Provides a Remedy for Sex Discrimination in Fully Funded Educational Institutions

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has again created a circuit split by disagreeing with decisions from the Fifth and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeals, which have held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides...more

Whacky Employment Claims: Who's Whackier? Management or the Employee?

As employment defense attorneys, we see many strange situations arise in the workplace. The question is, how prepared are you as an employer to handle the wackiness that may potentially arise when your employees make...more

Direct Evidence of Racist Remarks Dooms Employer Motion for Summary Judgment

A federal court in Tennessee denied an employer’s motion for summary judgment on an African-American employee’s race discrimination and hostile work environment claims under Title VII and state law. The decision was based in...more

The Employment Law Authority - March/April 2017

EXECUTIVE ORDERS MARK A RISING, ROILING TIDE OF IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS - In his first week in office, President Donald Trump launched a series of executive orders (EO) directing large-scale changes on...more

Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Decision Lends Further Confusion to Title VII Protections

In a rather disconnected decision on March 10, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled, in the case of Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, that while Title VII bars an employer from discriminating...more

Repeated "Friendly" Hugs and Kisses Can Rise to the Level of Actionable Sexual Harassment

Some people are naturally more affectionate than others. Most people have friends or acquaintances who go for hugs when a handshake is all that you expect. In the workplace, these personality types can clash, and “huggers”...more

Medical Residents Can Sue Under Title IX, Third Circuit Holds

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently revived a medical resident's harassment and retaliation claims against Mercy Catholic Medical Center, finding that the hospital is subject to Title IX. The Third...more

Fifth Circuit Warps Time In Decision On The Continuing Violation Doctrine

Seyfarth Synopsis: The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held for the first time that the continuing violation doctrine applies even when a plaintiff was subject to harassment that was severe enough to put the...more

“And” Or “Or” – This Ninth Circuit Opinion Highlights The Difference

“And” and “or” are classified as conjunctions. They are classified as such because they yoke together words, phrases, clauses and sometimes even sentences. They are not interchangeable, however, as illustrated by the recent...more

Employment Law - March 2017

Future of DOL's White Collar Overtime Rule Remains Unclear - Why it matters - The uncertainty surrounding the Department of Labor's (DOL) white collar overtime rule continues, with the agency requesting more time to...more

In Search of the Reasonable Person

Allegations of sexual harassment continue to attract media attention and commentary, including ours. As we review developments, we note that a wide variety of workplace behaviors are being challenged and scrutinized. ...more

Prior Sexual Harassment Does Not Ease Plaintiff's Burden of Showing Hostile Work Environment

Employers sometimes struggle determining appropriate disciplinary action in the event of relatively low level sexual harassment. Many companies take a no tolerance approach, concluding that keeping the harasser employed makes...more

California Employment Law Notes - March 2017

Victoria Zetwick, a county correctional officer, alleged that the county sheriff created a sexually hostile environment in violation of Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act by, among other things,...more

Ohio Legislature Proposes Major Reform of Ohio Employment Discrimination Law

The Ohio employment discrimination statute may be in for substantial changes. A bill aimed at comprehensive reform of Ohio’s employment discrimination statute (R.C. § 4112) has been introduced Ohio Legislature....more

Texas Workplace Sexual Assaults May Not be Treated as Sexual Harassment

In Texas, some victims of workplace sexual assault may pursue common law assault claims against their employers, following a recent Supreme Court of Texas ruling. B.C. v. Steak N Shake Ops., Inc., — S.W.3d —, Case No. 15-0404...more

Hugs and Kisses May Not Spur Affection in the Workplace

In a decision just two weeks after Valentine’s Day, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (“Ninth Circuit”) has ruled that hugs and kisses may decrease, rather than increase, feelings of affection in the workplace. ...more

Another Nursing Mother's FLSA Claims Settled

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that a California restaurant company has agreed to take steps to remedy alleged: ? Non-compliance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act's requirement that covered employers give...more

Hugging Can Create a Hostile Work Environment, Ninth Circuit Rules—Are Your Employees Aware?

“He’s just the hugging type”—we have all heard one time or another in the workplace. But is there a limit to platonic hugging in the workplace? The Ninth Circuit recently ruled there is....more

Hug It Out at Work? Maybe Not in the Ninth Circuit

When does workplace hugging go too far? The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently weighed in with an opinion. Victoria Zetwick, a county correctional officer, based her Title VII hostile work environment suit almost...more

Employee’s Retaliation and Hostile Work Environment Claims Based on a Rumor Spread in the Workplace Survives Motion for Summary...

In Baez v. Anne Fontaine USA, Inc., the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied an employer’s motion for summary judgment to dismiss a terminated employee’s retaliation claims under Title...more

The Patient Is Not Always Right: Discriminatory Staffing Requests Can Create Legal Exposure

Employer reports of bigoted or inappropriate comments made by customers to employees or other patrons have become increasingly common for employers in all industries. In the healthcare industry, this often takes the form of a...more

Harassment of Patients Does Not Give Reporting Employee Cause of Action Under Title VII

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees against sexual and other types of harassment that result in a hostile and offensive working environment. What happens when the alleged harassment involves customers of the...more

Employment Discrimination: Hostile Work Environments, Disparate Treatment and Retaliation

Hostile work environments require both prompt and effective responses from employers. Efrain Reynaga v. Roseburg Forest Products - Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (January 26, 2017) - Courts have long...more

EEOC Issues Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is seeking public comment on its newly proposed enforcement guidance addressing unlawful workplace harassment under the federal anti-discrimination laws. The initial deadline for...more

EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance Urges Employers To Be Proactive in Preventing, Addressing Workplace Harassment

In its Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment issued on January 10, 2017, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) emphasizes that employers should take a proactive role in preventing harassment,...more

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