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Hostile Work Environment

Sexual Harassment, Holiday Parties, Handbooks, and other End-of-Year Musings

I do not think a day has passed since Harvey Weinstein’s ouster that we don’t learn about a new public figure-newscaster-actor-politician-other notable name who has been accused of sexual harassment (or similar behavior) and lost his job.  Today, I woke to news of Matt Lauer’s termination from NBC.  A few moments ago I received an […]

When One Word Is Too Much… Single Racial Slur May Support Hostile Work Environment Claim

In Castleberry v. STI Group, No. 16-3131 (3d Cir. 2017), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that a manager’s one-time use of a racial slur, combined with his threat to fire a Black employee, could be enough to support a Section 1981 hostile work environment claim. Two Black laborers sued their staffing agency (STI) […]

Former Chipotle Employee To Get Trial on Racial Harassment Claim

An employer can avoid liability for one employee’s harassment of another employee if it takes prompt remedial action to address that harassment.  One way to do this is for an employer to conduct an investigation, counsel the involved employees, and/or discipline the harassing employee.  On the other hand, telling an employee who complains about racial harassment […]

Prompt Investigation Helps Employer Avoid Liability On Harassment Claim

In a recent decision from a Mississippi federal court, Nissan avoided liability on a former employee’s sexual harassment claim because she could not show that her employer acted negligently in responding to her complaints.  Davenport v. Nissan N. Am., Inc., No. 3:14-CV-00671-CWR-LRA (S.D. Miss. Oct. 22, 2015). From August 2012 until January 2014, Joslyne Davenport […]

Name Calling, Prayer Circle, and Social Shunning Help Revive Discrimination Claims

Reversing a decision it described as “replete with error,” the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has revived an employee’s claims of retaliation, and religion- and national origin-based hostile work environment.  Huri v. Office of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Cir. Ct. of Cook Cnty., No. 12-2217 (7th Cir. Oct. 21, 2015). Fozyia Huri, a […]

New Fourth Circuit Standard: Single Incident Sufficient For Title VII Hostile Workplace Harassment Claim

Sometimes, once is enough.  In a just issued en banc decision that overturns established circuit precedent, the Fourth Circuit held that a single workplace incident was sufficiently severe to trigger Title VII’s protection. In Boyer-Liberto v. Fontainebleau Corp., 4th Cir. No 13-1473 (May 7, 2015), an African-American hotel worker was fired after she complained that a […]