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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

“Wailing and Cussing and Screaming and Hollering”—A “Singular Incident” or a Hostile Work Environment?

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently rejected the sex discrimination, hostile work environment, constructive discharge, and retaliation claims that a graphic designer brought against her employer and two of her...more

Employment Newsletter - October 2013: U.S. Supreme Court Limits Who Qualifies as a “Supervisor” under Title VII

On June 24, 2013, the United States Supreme Court in Vance v. Ball State University, 133 S.Ct. 2434 (2013), issued one of the most important decisions on workplace harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act since it...more

"Boys will be Boys" A Risky Employment Policy

In a 10-6 decision following en banc review, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently decided, in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Boh Brothers Construction Co. L.L.C., that an iron worker...more

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