Tag: Hostile Work Environment

High profile or not, sexual harassment claims require employer action

Sexual harassment—the subject has exploded in recent weeks as people from all walks have spoken up about a menacing workplace problem. Even though antiharassment efforts are a priority in human resources circles, recent revelations about the actions of some high-profile executives are likely to cause employers to ask the question, “Are we doing enough?”  And […]

Office politics: preventing disruptive discourse

by David L. Johnson Recently, a Pennsylvania YMCA stopped showing cable news shows on the TVs in its gym because they were prompting political squabbles among its members. When filtered into the diverse workplace, passionate opposing political viewpoints can harm productivity and morale and even create liability issues for employers. Sometimes political discussions can morph […]

Harvey Weinstein: beauty and the beastly mogul

Over the last week, the fallout from a New York Times article regarding Harvey Weinstein has been swift and significant. On October 5, the Times published an explosive story about Hollywood producer and media mogul Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment spanning decades. More and more women have been coming forward since the story broke to accuse […]

Firestorm over Google memo putting ‘diversity of thought’ in spotlight

What was meant to be an internal memo written by a male engineer at Google hit the internet in a big way in early August, igniting controversy that led to the employee’s firing and much discussion about the effectiveness of corporate diversity efforts.  The now-infamous memo raises questions on many fronts. Among them: Does it […]

Don’t let Confederate flags lead to interoffice civil war

by Connor Beatty While enjoying a scenic drive along the Maine coast recently, I was startled to come across a giant Confederate flag prominently displayed in a house’s front yard. Less than a week later, a client contacted our firm to ask for advice in responding to an employee’s claim that a vehicle with a […]

Muslim teacher may proceed with national origin harassment claim

by Emily Hobbs-Wright A Turkish-born Muslim teacher claimed that her school had a culture of racial and ethnic hostility. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose decisions apply to Colorado employers) recently ruled that her complaints of national origin discrimination may move forward. This case offers several lessons on how to handle cultural differences […]

Not funny: mocking coworker’s spouse’s religion

by Zachary D. Morahan The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, 2nd Department, recently issued an important decision in which it held that an employer faced liability under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) for allowing employees to mock the religious beliefs of a coworker’s spouse. This case has important ramifications for both […]

Handling harassment: What constitutes a hostile work environment?

by Joanna Vilos Employees sometimes complain about undesired or harassing conduct that does not rise to the level of a hostile work environment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A decision from a Wyoming federal court reveals which steps employers can take to avoid liability and how employers can defend themselves […]

‘Microaggression’: a new form of discrimination?

by Ryann E. Ricchio Discussions about “microaggression” have become more common in the mainstream media. A simple Google search reveals college websites documenting students’ recently experienced microaggressions and articles analyzing microaggression from major media sources, including National Public Radio and the New York Times. This article provides the definition of microaggression, examines a recent case […]

Rude isn’t racist: Supervisor’s alleged poor treatment doesn’t amount to discrimination

by Carrie Pond A Kentucky federal court recently dismissed a claim of hostile work environment racial harassment because the employee failed to show the harassment was race-based. Despite allegations that, if believed, demonstrated the employee’s supervisor “treated [her] very badly,” she failed to establish that the treatment was racially motivated.   Facts Marilyn Harris, who is […]