Title VII Hostile Environment

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is a United States federal law enacted in 1964 and aimed at preventing discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, and religion. Title VII... more +
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is a United States federal law enacted in 1964 and aimed at preventing discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, and religion. Title VII has been subsequently extended to discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and sexual stereotypes and to prohibit sexual harassment. Title VII applies to all employers with fifteen or more employees including private employers, state and local governments, and educational institutions.  less -
News & Analysis as of

Transgender Issues in the Workplace

Since 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has taken the position that transgender individuals are protected from discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). The EEOC...more

Employee Relations, Title VII, and the Confederate Battle Flag

Many workplaces situated below the Mason-Dixon line will employ both those who feel the Confederate flag is a vital part of their heritage and self-expression, and also those who see the Confederate flag as a symbol of...more

Fourth Circuit Rejects “Manager Rule” in Title VII Claims

On Monday, August 10, the Fourth Circuit rejected the application of the “manager rule” in the Title VII context, finding it “would discourage . . . employees from voicing concerns about workplace discrimination.”...more

Second Circuit Clarifies Pleading Standard for Title VII Claims

A Second Circuit panel recently revived a former employee’s racial discrimination suit against New York City, reversing in part the Southern District of New York’s dismissal of her case. In Littlejohn v. City of New York,...more

Employers Can be Liable For Acts of Anonymous Harassers

A recent federal court case emphasized an important lesson for all companies to consider: employers are under an obligation to investigate employee complaints of a hostile work environment even if the identity of the harasser...more

Hostile Work Environment: Playing Defense to Offensive Workplace Conduct

A hostile environment can result from the unwelcome conduct of supervisors, co-workers, customers, contractors or anyone else with whom the victim interacts on the job when the unwelcome conduct renders the workplace...more

OSHA Joins the Growing Support for Transgender Rights in the Workplace

With the increased government scrutiny of transgender issues in the workplace, employers should be careful not to discriminate against transgender employees and to treat them in accordance with their gender...more

Federal Court Says Employer Can Be Liable for Acts of Anonymous Harasser

As a major national company learned recently, employers cannot shirk their obligations to investigate employee complaints of a hostile work environment simply because the identity of the harasser is unknown. Failure to...more

New Harassment and Retaliation Standard in Fourth Circuit

Last month, in Boyer-Liberto v. Fontainebleau Corp., No. 13-1473 (4th Cir. May 7, 2015), the federal Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which includes North and South Carolina, articulated a new standard for analyzing...more

Cumulative Harassment Theory Must Include Individual Claims That Meet Severe and Pervasive Threshold

Sometimes, employees believe that they have been discriminated against or harassed based on their membership in multiple protected categories. Employers often receive EEOC charges that identify race and sex, or age and...more

Transgender at Work: How Employers Can Stay Off the EEOC Radar Screen

It’s no secret that the EEOC—and even some courts—read Title VII to prohibit discrimination against transgender employees. A growing number of state and city laws also specifically include gender identity and/or expression as...more

Fourth Circuit Lowers Bar for Employees in Title VII Retaliation Claims

The case involved an African American cocktail waitress who claimed she was called a “porch monkey” by another employee twice within a 24 hour period. Shortly after reporting the incidents, her employment was terminated. She...more

MLB Litigation Brief: 4th Circuit Hostile Work Enviro, Class Action Trends Cause Concern, Low-Wage Non-Competes & More

Survey Says Increasing Number of Class Actions Most Important Litigation Trend: Norton Rose Fulbright recently released its global 2015 Litigation Trends Annual Survey, which compiles litigation trends and data gathered...more

The Fourth Circuit Asks What For, Answers with But For: The Determination that a Landmark United States Supreme Court Decision...

In 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States held that plaintiffs claiming retaliation under Title VII must prove that “but for” the retaliation they would not have been discharged. University of Texas Southwestern Medical...more

Single Incident of Severe Verbal Harassment Can Be Sufficient to Establish a Hostile Working Environment

In Boyer-Liberto v. Fontainebleau Corp., 2015 WL 2116849 (4th Cir. May 7, 2015), the Fourth Circuit recently held that an isolated, but "extremely serious" incident of verbal harassment can establish a hostile work...more

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Holds Hostile Work Environment Can Be Created With A Single Racial Epithet

Despite consistent direction from the United States Supreme Court that courts should look at "all the circumstances" in determining whether a workplace environment is sufficiently hostile or abusive to give rise to an...more

Fourth Circuit Joins Other Federal Courts in Broadly Interpreting the Scope of Title VII Retaliation Claims

On May 7, 2015, the Fourth Circuit ruled that an isolated instance of harassment, if "extremely serious," can create a hostile work environment, and that complaining about such harassment constitutes protected activity under...more

Fourth Circuit Reverses Position on Single Racial Slur as Sufficient to Create Hostile Work Environment

For years, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes North Carolina and South Carolina) set a high bar for plaintiffs suing for workplace harassment. The court rejected multiple claims involving obnoxious and crude...more

In a Win for Employees, Fourth Circuit Finds That Two Racial Slurs May Support Harassment Claim

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently made two noteworthy rulings in a single case concerning sexual harassment and retaliation under Title VII. First, as it relates to sexual harassment, the Court found that two...more

Lowering the Bar: Fourth Circuit Rules Single Incident Sufficient to Trigger Title VII Hostile Work Environment Claim

Out with the old and in with the new. In a decision issued last week, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals held that a single incident of harassment was sufficient to move a harassment claim forward. This decision is certainly...more

Fourth Circuit Lowers the Bar in Title VII Harassment and Retaliation Cases

On May 7, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (covering Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland) issued an opinion that potentially makes it easier for employees to survive...more

Social Awareness Programs: Good for Business or Legal Risk?

Despite good intentions and previous success taking a stand on contentious issues — i.e., gun control and gay marriage — a coffee company quickly realized its campaign to encourage discussions of race relations between...more

The “Protected Activity” Prong of a Prima Facie Retaliation Claim

Courts increasingly scrutinize the “protected activity” prong of a plaintiff’s prima facie retaliation claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other, similar anti-discrimination laws. ...more

2014's Hottest Employment Rulings Affecting Southeastern Employers

2014 saw a wide range of employment issues presented before the 11th Circuit. This article seeks to highlight some of the more frequently cited 11th Circuit opinions from last year. The updates below, although not earth...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

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