LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Equal-Opportunity Jerks Take the "Sex" Out of Sexual Harassment

To prove sexual harassment, a plaintiff must have been subjected to pervasive or severe behavior that would make the plaintiff (and a reasonable person in the plaintiff's shoes) believe that the working environment are hostile or abusive. Wait, I'm forgetting something. Oh yeah, the complained...

Equal Opportunity Harassment Is Not Unlawful Sexual Harassment

For harassment to qualify as sexual harassment it must be because of sex. That means that the complained-of misconduct is of a sexual nature, or it singles out women differently than men. Non-sex-based conduct that targets women and men the same, no matter how harsh, is not sexual harassment. Case...

A Quick & Dirty Checklist on Conducting Harassment Investigations

by Vanessa L. Goddard You've heard the expression "The best defense is a good offense." Well, this is very true in the world of harassment law. For our devoted readers of this blog, we know this is preaching to the choir, but it never hurts to make a quick check of your policies...

Gay Wedding Invitation is not Harassment - COTW #65

The employment law Case of the Week is Walker v. Jackson [ opinion available to lexis.com subscribers] , an EEOC decision from October 6, 2011. It answers the age old question - if I get invited to a same sex wedding celebration, was I subjected to religious harassment? If you answered, "are...

Post-Employment Acts Don't Create a Hostile Work Environment

When Krysten Overly, a financial advisor at a bank, told her male boss that she was resigning, Overly claims that he grabbed Overly's arm to push her out the door. And as Overly left her boss's office, he yelled, "Good riddance, bitch!" What a jerk! But, as a matter of law, did...

Can One Anti-Semitic Email Make a Tenable Employee Bias Claim?

When an employee sues his former employer alleging a religiously hostile work environment, he must prove, among other things, that he was subjected to harassment based on his religion and that the harassment was either severe or pervasive. What do you think? Is the email below from a company General...

Appellate Division Holds That The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination Prohibits Workplace Harassment Based On Perceived Membership In A Protected Group

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. §§ 10:5-1 - 10:5-30 (the "NJLAD"), prohibits employers, because of the race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, sexual orientation, genetic information,...

Naked Twister, Orgies, and Facebook - COTW #105

Ah yes: naked twister, orgies, and Facebook . . . just another Case of the Week! In Targonski v. City of Oakridge , the plaintiff brought a number of workplace discrimination claims, including a sexual harassment hostile work environment claim. Her claim started off pretty well. She alleged that co-workers...

144 "N"-words, but black employees can't prove they were offended

Take a few minutes to read this decision [ enhanced version available to Lexis.com subscribers ]. It will blow your mind. Here's the long and short of it: Three black employees sue for race discrimination claiming that they were subjected to a racially-hostile work environment. The court actually...

Let's Review the Tape: Did Fired Rutgers Coach Mike Rice Create a Hostile Work Environment?

Rutgers Fires Basketball Coach Mike Rice Today, Rutgers fired Men's Basketball Coach Mike Rice, after video of his abusive actions during team practice surfaced, and was widely criticized by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Click Here to read the story from CNN.com and to view the video...

Fix Racial Harassment Before Hostile Environment Starts Affecting Employee Performance

by The HR Specialist: North Carolina Employment Law Employees who have to work in a hostile work environment may have a hard time doing their jobs well. When resulting poor performance leads management to fire someone, expect trouble. Usually, poor performance is a rock solid discharge reason. But...

A Supervisor's Swine Flu Death Wish on an Older Employee Leads to an Age Bias Claim

Yesterday, our guest blogger offered three tips for successful onboarding . Unable to match that, today, I have a less than successful way to encourage attrition -- unless of course you like defending age discrimination claims. A federal court has permitted a plaintiff's claims that his ex...

Can Crosses on Holiday Party Invitations Create a Hostile Work Environment?

Remember yesterday, when I was talking about religious accommodations , I said, "Treat all religions equally." That same rule applies to casting out the evil devil of religious discrimination generally. Church! After the jump, from my bloggerdome pulpit, I'm preaching my religion...

How Two Racial Slurs in 24 hours Can Create a Hostile Work Environment

Last year, I channelled Bill Clinton in this blog post about how courts rarely recognize a single incident or two as creating what the law deems a hostile work environment. Yeah, about that. Even a few isolated comments can create a hostile work environment. In Boyer-Liberto v. Fontainebleu...

Is This New Harassment Decision the End of the World for Employers?

Are harassment and retaliation lawsuits all going to the jury now? Are employers doomed? Are the plaintiffs’ lawyers popping the champagne corks? Is the EEOC dancing for joy? The employment law world is abuzz about last week’s racial harassment/retaliation decision from my own U.S. Court...

I Want to Quit My Job, Get a Severance and Be Eligible for Pennsylvania Unemployment Benefits

I Am Being Bullied at Work by a Co-Worker and Neither HR or Management Have Effectively Addressed My Complaint Every week, I am contacted by 2-3 people who want to know if they can quit their job and get unemployment benefits. The most common reason, by far, that people want to quit their job is the...

Fourth Circuit Adopts Employee-Friendly Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation Standards

by Julie A. Moore Traditionally, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Court – which encompasses the West Virginia – has been regarded as being an employer-friendly jurisdiction when it comes to deciding cases arising under federal employment laws. However, that gradually...

Does Smoke Always Equal Fire in Harassment Cases?

Consider the following, taken from Briggs v. University of Detroit-Mercy (E.D. Mich. 5/27/14) , and then let’s talk [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ]. Plaintiff Carlos Briggs, former assistant coach of the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM...

How Kelly Osbourne’s “Poor Choice” of Racist Words Can Help Businesses Address Discrimination

Earlier this year, Kelly Osbourne walked out on E!’s Fashion Police shortly after her co-host, Giuliana Rancic , criticized a young African-American Disney star. Specifically, Ms. Rancic called out the actress for donning dreadlocks at the 2015 Oscars, saying that she must have smelled of “patchouli”...

Don’t Forget Anti-Harassment Training For Temporary Workers

In these Summer months, it’s easy to relax a bit. For example, last weekend I spent Sunday morning sleeping off a fun Saturday night in the shade of a tree on my front lawn while my four kids played slip-and-slide in traffic on the front lawn too. Although, I did catch my youngest two cooling off...

When One Act Is Enough For Harassment

To be actionable, the offensiveness of alleged harassment needs to be either pervasive (that is, happening often) or severe (that is, shocking to the system even if observed only once). In Macias v. Southwest Cheese Co. (10th Cir. 8/24/15) [pdf] , a federal appellate discussed the difference in the context...

Workplace Bullying: Its Costs and Prevention

by Jana P. Grimm For years, employers in the United States have become familiar and worked with federal, state, and local laws that prohibit harassment and discrimination based on certain specific characteristics, such as those set forth in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Increasingly, employers...

Is “No” Enough?

by Martin J. Saunders Like most statutes prohibiting discrimination, Title VII also outlaws retaliation so that individuals will not be inhibited from asserting claims under the statute. Thus, Title VII prohibits retaliation against anyone who opposes an act made unlawful by it. The question, therefore...

The Other Side of the Coin on the Appropriate Response to Harassment

Last week I discussed the importance of a timely and effective remedial response by an employer to an employee’s harassment complaint. Today, I examine the other side of the coin—what happens when an employer does not take proactive steps to eliminate harassment from the workplace. The...

Workplace Sexual Harassment Prevention

For the first time in three semesters of teaching employment law at Penn State, I am cancelling class on Thursday. As a result, I recorded a video to address some of the issues we would have covered that day. Here's Intro to Workplace Sexual Harassment Prevention: Intro to Workplace Sexual Harassment...