Showing 7 posts in Harassment.

EEOC Seeks Public Input on Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment

The EEOC issued Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment on January 10, 2017. It is designed to consolidate numerous agency guidelines into one document and addresses hostile work environment harassment prohibited by statutes enforced by the EEOC. The Guidance examines three primary elements of a harassment claim. First, is the conduct based on a legally protected status; second, is the conduct sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment; and third, is there a basis for employer liability. The 75-page treatise covers key case law since the Supreme Court first recognized harassment as an actionable form of discrimination in 1986. More ›

NY Transit Agencies Escape Vicarious Liability for Contractors Alleged Discrimination

It is not uncommon for companies to contract their daily business operations to third-party companies. In Motta et al v. Global Contact Services, Inc., the court addressed whether such relationships relieve the outsourcing company of any duties to address discrimination or harassment in the workplace. More ›

In Significant Title VII Harassment Decision, U.S. Supreme Court Limits Definition of “Supervisor”

An African-American female who served in a University's dining services division filed a complaint against the University alleging racial harassment and discrimination due to the actions of a white catering specialist who worked at the same location. The catering specialist did not direct the employee's day-to-day activities or have authority to hire, fire, demote or discipline the employee, but sometimes handed the employee her list of tasks and directed the employee in the kitchen. The employee alleged that the catering specialist was her supervisor and that the University was liable for the creation of a racially hostile work environment. More ›

Second Circuit Grants Injunctive Relief to Prevent Recurring Sexual Harassment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  (EEOC) brought a lawsuit on behalf of a class of female employees against a grocery store operating in Oswego, New York, alleging sexual harassment and a sexually hostile work environment in violation of Title VII and New York State law. The sole alleged harasser was the store manager, who was alleged to have engaged in verbal and physical harassment. An employee made numerous complaints to management about this alleged harassment, but the store owner allegedly discredited the complaints, likely due to the fact that the store owner and the alleged harasser were in a long term romantic relationship. After a jury trial, the employee was awarded over $1.25 million in compensatory and punitive damages. More ›

Employees’ Delay in Complaining of Harassment lead to Dismissal of Claims

Five mid-level supervisors brought suit for racial and sexual harassment against their employer based upon purported physical and verbal misconduct by a higher-level supervisor. It turned out, however, that the employees had delayed almost eight months before reporting the misconduct, despite the fact that the employer had a “zero tolerance” policy regarding this type of misconduct, had policies in place which set forth the complaint process. The employer only learned of the supervisor’s alleged misconduct after the employees filed EEOC charges, and at that time, the employer undertook a prompt investigation. The employees claimed that they didn’t complain earlier because their complaints would have been ignored and/or because they feared retaliation. More ›

Court Erred in Excluding “Me Too” Evidence Relating to Employee’s Claims of Sexual Harassment and Discrimination

The California Court of Appeals recently issued an important ruling about the use of "me too" evidence in discrimination and harassment cases.  More ›

Hostile and Boorish Bullying Does Not Support Race-Based Hostile Work Environment Claim

A Caucasian employee severely injured when an African-American co-worker dropped a 940-pound steel coil on him sued his employer, arguing that his co-worker’s bullying behavior created a race-based hostile work environment under the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (42 U.S.C. § 1981). The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that although the co-worker’s conduct was hostile and boorish, because the employee was not the target of racial slurs, epithets or overtly race-related behavior, the conduct was insufficient to create an abusive working environment. Furthermore, the court found it significant that the employee did not report his concerns to the proper official as required under the employer’s harassment policy. While the employer in this case escaped liability, employers should, in order to avoid lawsuits, be proactive and create positive work environments where employees are not subjected to abuse for any reason.