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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...

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...

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...

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...

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...