Menu

Showing 16 posts in Sexual 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 ›

The Writing is on the Wall, Yet Seventh Circuit Holds Sexual Orientation Is Not a Protected Class Under Title VII

Earlier this week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College that Title VII does not protect employees or offer redress for discrimination based on sexual orientation.  As a result, discrimination against an employee based solely on sexual orientation is not prohibited by federal law, while discrimination against an employee based on gender non-conformity claims is prohibited. More ›

DOL Updates Federal Contractor Regulations Prohibiting Sex Discrimination for First Time Since 1970

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule to expand sex discrimination guidelines for federal contractors and subcontractors. The final rule updates—for the first time in over 40 years—the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' sex discrimination regulations to align them with current interpretations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the realities of today's diverse workforce. More ›

New York District Court Holds Sexual Orientation not Protected by Title VII

Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") announced filing its first federal lawsuits against private-sector businesses, challenging sexual orientation discrimination as sex discrimination. Coincidentally, a week later, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York held in Christiansen v. Omnicom Group, Inc. that, although sexual orientation discrimination is "reprehensible," it does not violate Title VII. These cases demonstrate the legal community's struggle in defining and interpreting the law as currently written while, at the same time, attempting to ensure equal protections for gay and lesbian individuals. More ›

Eighth Circuit Holds that Supervisor's Bizarre Conduct does not Constitute Discrimination

In Rickard v. Swedish Match North America, Inc., the Eighth Circuit held that a supervisor's allegedly inappropriate behavior did not rise to the level of actionable discrimination based on age and sex. The case reminds us that an employment discrimination plaintiff must do more than simply allege offensive conduct. The alleged actions must be sufficiently serious as to affect the "terms, conditions or privileges" of employment. More ›

Prevention and Corrective Policies help Employer to Avoid Sexual Harassment Liability

Rhonda Simpson's manager first approached her in 2002 at a local fast food restaurant because he thought Ms. Simpson looked just like Farrah Fawcett. The manager suggested Ms. Simpson come see him at the national closeout retailer (the "Company") where he worked should she ever need a job. Ms. Simpson eventually did interview with the manager and was hired by the Company as a cashier and worked her way up to assistant manager. For most of the time she worked for the Company, she did not report to the manager who initially recruited her. More ›

Same Sex Harassment is Actionable, California Court of Appeal Affirms

In Lewis v. City of Benicia, the First Appellate District affirmed once again that in California, same-sex harassment is actionable.

Brian Lewis, a volunteer and later paid intern at the City of Benecia’s water treatment plan, claimed he was sexually harassed by two male supervisors (Hickman and Lantrip) in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), that he was subject to retaliation when he complained of the harassment, and that the City was liable for failing to prevent sexual harassment. More ›

Employee Successfully Defeats Employer’s Summary Judgment on Quid Pro Quo Claim

In this case, the employee secured her position with the employer through the assistance of a friend's husband, and after she was hired, the man became her supervisor. After she was hired, she claimed he started to sexually harass her. Specifically, she claimed that he put his arms around her shoulders and kissed the side of her face; put his arm around her shoulders on another occasion; and that he asked her to remove a hair from his chin with tweezers and kissed her. On each occasion, she claimed she was uncomfortable and tried to refuse, but he repeatedly told her not to complain and that he could get her fired. The employee complained to her supervisor's supervisor, who said she would be in touch to discuss further, but no such communications took place. Thereafter, the supervisor and a manager expressed concern about the employee's job performance, appearance, and tardiness. The supervisor's supervisor directed them to terminate the employee's employment. More ›

Employee’s Dishonesty Outweighs Employee’s Complaints of Harassment in Termination/Retaliation Suit

A hospital employee was terminated for dishonesty and causing a workplace disruption. She had previously posted comments on her Facebook page alleging that her supervising physician inappropriately touched her and was paying employees for time they did not work. The accused physician saw the posts and notified hospital management. The employee was asked about the posts, and three times denied that she had authored the posts. The hospital investigated the allegations, including the allegations concerning the touchings by the supervisor, and during this time, the employee told her co-workers that she believed the physician had destroyed evidence of the extra pay he had given to the employees. Later, the employee admitted that she had, in fact, authored the Facebook posts and was terminated for dishonesty and causing a workplace disruption. More ›

“Locker Room” talk in All-Male Workplace Sexual Harassment, Fifth Circuit Rules

In this space, we have reported recently on the series of rebuffs that the EEOC has received from various courts in recent months. But in EEOC v. Boh Brothers Construction Company, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals handed the EEOC a victory that serves to expand the meaning of what constitutes sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the September 27, 2013, en banc ruling, a 10-6 majority held that the crude sexual banter and ribbing of a heterosexual male worker by a heterosexual male supervisor could constitute sexual harassment under Title VII. More ›