Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment

News & Analysis as of

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

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

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

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

Peter Dinklage takes on Elf

It’s December, which means that those of us holiday fanatics can decorate and watch Christmas movies to our hearts’ content without shame. Of course, I won’t tell anyone if you already had your tree up in November (like me)...more

Courts are Trending Toward Prohibiting Sexual Orientation Discrimination under Federal Law

Two recent court decisions highlight the ongoing struggle by federal courts to determine whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation....more

Pennsylvania Court Says Title VII Prohibits Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (‘EEOC”) has been aggressively advancing its position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation even though sexual...more

Same-Sex Harassment Not Actionable When Conduct Not Based on Gender

Employees can consider a working environment to be hostile due to sexual conduct, even when the workplace is all male or all female. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and federal courts have long held that...more

The Continuing Expansion of Sexual Harassment Training Requirements in California

A dozen years ago, the passage in California of Assembly Bill (AB) 1825 began required sexual harassment prevention training for supervisors in companies with 50 or more employees.  Since then, California has led the nation...more

Faragher/Ellerth defense used to defeat Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act claim

As a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit shows, the same employer defenses used to defeat Title VII discrimination claims can also be used to defeat claims under the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination...more

Trump’s So-Called “Locker Room Talk”: Would It Count Towards a “Hostile Work Environment”?

I’ve always tried for this blog to be apolitical. That doesn’t mean I don’t have political views — I obviously do — but I don’t think that they should play into or how we look at certain legal issues. But we need to...more

Loi Travail : Obligation de prévention des agissements sexistes

Since August 10, 2016, an obligation of prevention of sexist behavior in the business is charged to employers. The actions related to the sex of a person and having the purpose or effect of violating their dignity or...more

Fifth Circuit Green Lights Discovery Over Immigration Status In EEOC Litigation

Seyfarth Synopsis: Hispanic employees of a poultry processing plant alleged harassment and abuse on the job. The company claimed that the employees’ allegations were fabricated in order to obtain U visas, which are available...more

Mayflower Seafood of Goldsboro Agrees To Pay $81,500 To Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Server/Cashier at Restaurant Subjected to Sexual Harassment and Then Retaliation for Complaining About It, Federal Agency Charged - RALEIGH, N.C. - A Goldsboro, N.C., seafood restaurant will pay $81,500 and furnish other...more

Security Firm To Pay $115,000 To Settle EEOC Retaliation Suit

Guardsmark Fired Security Guard Working at Michigan Client Location For Opposing Sexual Harassment, Federal Agency Charges - DETROIT - Security giant Guardsmark has agreed to pay $115,000 and to provide other relief to...more

Bosses Behaving Badly

All employers received a reminder yesterday regarding the potential dangers of sexual harassment in the workplace. Fox News has reportedly agreed to pay its former anchor, Gretchen Carlson, $20,000,000 to settle her...more

EEOC Sues T-N-T Of York County, Inc. And Tm Trucking of The Carolinas, LLC For Racial Harassment

Owner Constantly Harassed Black Employees, Forcing Many to Quit, Federal Agency Charges - ROCK HILL, S.C. - Two interconnected South Carolina trucking companies violated federal law when they subjected black employees to...more

Windsor Inn Will Pay $200,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit

Restaurant Owner Harassed Female Employees, Federal Agency Said - BALTIMORE - A Baltimore restaurant, R.V. Associates Limited, doing business as Windsor Inn, will pay $200,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to...more

Fifth Circuit Decision Reinforces The Importance of Clearly Communicating Anti-Harassment Policies

A well-drafted anti-sexual harassment policy and complaint procedure can provide useful defenses for employers defending against claims of sexual harassment. However, a recent decision from the Fifth Circuit should remind...more

Supreme Court Leaves Massive Attorney's Fee Award Against EEOC Unresolved

But Decision Could Still Be Helpful For Employers - Today, in a unanimous 8-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to issue a definitive ruling on whether an employer is entitled to recover nearly $5 million dollars...more

Supreme Court Holds a Party May be Entitled to Attorneys' Fees Absent a Favorable Ruling on the Merits

On May 19, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in CRST, Inc. v. EEOC, which addressed the definition of a “prevailing party” who may be awarded attorneys’ fees in Title VII cases. Although the Court ultimately...more

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