Main Menu

Hostile Work Environment

Maryland’s New Workplace Laws, Including Significant Changes To Maryland’s Anti-Discrimination Law

As of October 1, 2019, there are a series of new laws and/or amendments to existing laws that impact Maryland’s workplaces and employers.  These include: Significant FEPA Amendments:  Maryland’s anti-discrimination law, the Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA), now includes independent contractors within the definition of employee entitled to FEPA’s protections.  Further, while FEPA generally applies to […]

Employee’s Medical Leave Can Be An Adverse Employment Action If Caused By Discriminatory Comments

A recent case out of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois demonstrates how a supervisor’s repeated derogatory comments about an employee’s Middle Eastern background and religion that forced her to take medical leave became a triable discrimination claim.  Odisho v. U.S. Bancorp, Inc., No. 16 C 11121 (N.D. Ill. 7/24/19). Juliet […]

Fourth Circuit Rejects Employee’s Claim of Mexican Heritage Bias

Direct, qualification, and comparator evidence, oh my!  In a recent decision, the Fourth Circuit recounted the ways in which a former utility distribution serviceman failed to prove discrimination in violation of Title VII and Section 1981.  Matias v. Elon University, No. 18-2507 (4th Cir. 7/22/19) (unpublished). Matias, who is Mexican, worked for Elon University from […]

Rumors About Sleeping With Her Boss Nets One Employee A Viable Sexual Harassment Claim

In today’s #MeToo age, it is hard not to know that sexual harassment is wrong and illegal.  This recent case of unlawful sexual harassment comes with an admittedly unexpected lens.  Rumors that a female employee is “sleeping her way to the top” is the latest version of prohibited sexual harassment in workplace.  While endless movies, […]

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 […]