Hostile Work Environment

Does Calling Someone a B*tch Create a Hostile Work Environment?

Posted on February 14, 2018

The Situation: A female employee claims that a male co worker has repeatedly called her a stupid b*tch.  Can she successfully assert a claim for hostile work environment?…

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Could Supervisor’s Statements Regarding Biracial Dating Create a Hostile Work Environment?

Posted on September 20, 2017

The Situation: Caucasian employee has an African American spouse with whom she has several children. The employee’s supervisor begins complaining to her about his concerns that his daughter is dating an African American man and talking to her about the potential problems that might arise out of this relationship, including consequences within his extended family and for his daughter professionally. The employee tells the supervisor that she feels uncomfortable with these conversations, but he continues to make similar complaints and comments. Could the employer be found to have violated Title VII?…

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But He Said it Too! Does Employee’s Use of Racial Epithet Negate Discrimination Claim?

Posted on January 11, 2017

The Situation: An employee asserts that he has been subjected to a hostile work environment, partially based on claims that other employees and supervisors regularly used racial epithets in his presence.  But, you are aware that the complaining employee had been known to use those very same terms at times. Does that affect his claim of discrimination?…

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Don’t Tread on Me Flag Considered Racist?

Posted on August 24, 2016

The Situation: You have an employee that frequently wears a shirt displaying the “Don’t Tread on Me” (also known as the Gadsden flag).  Another employee complains of discrimination, claiming that this symbol is creating a hostile work environment.  Could this really be a claim?…

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Jezebel Comment Leads to Hostile Work Environment Claim

Posted on July 13, 2016

The Situation: During the interview of a prospective new employee, one of your male supervisors comments on a female employee’s attractiveness.  After the employee is hired, the same supervisor repeatedly and frequently comments on the employee’s appearance and attire.  The supervisor then begins calling her a Jezebel.   She quits, citing the problem with the supervisor as the reason. Could you be facing a claim of hostile work environment?…

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Stray Remarks by De Facto Decisionmaker Support Discrimination Claim

Posted on July 31, 2015

When is an employer liable for “stray” remarks? How connected do the stray remarks need to be to the adverse employment action? Earlier this summer, the Second Circuit reversed a district court’s award of summary judgment to an employer on a discrimination claim involving stray remarks in a denial of tenure case where the remarks were made by the de facto decisionmaker within the same school year as the denial of tenure, clearly suggested racial bias and were about the plaintiff’s qualifications as a teacher. Tolbert v. Smith, et al., No. 14-1012 (2d Cir. June 24, 2015).…

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Look out—possibly more hostile work environment claims ahead

Posted on May 15, 2015

Following the recent ruling of the Fourth Circuit after an en banc rehearing, employers may face more claims for hostile work environment. In Boyer-Liberto v. Fountainebleau Corp., No. 13-1473 (4th Cir. May 7, 2015), the Fourth Circuit overturned a prior decision by its own panel and the district court and found that an extremely serious instance of harassment, even if it is isolated, can support a claim for hostile work environment and also provide a basis for a claim of retaliation if the isolated incident is physically threatening or humiliating.…

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