Tag: Hostile Work Environment

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 […]

Bullying in the workplace

by Amy S. Ybarra Bullying. We’ve all read the headlines. A child shoots another child who bullied him. A child takes her own life because she was bullied. As a result, schools are teaching kids and parents about recognizing the signs of bullying, reporting troubling behavior, and stopping it before it escalates. But bullying is […]

Avoid All Appearance of Sexism in Training—and Other—Employment Decisions

Today’s Advisor contains a guest column that first appeared on HR.BLR.com, called Lessons from JPMorgan Chase’s $1.45 million EEOC settlement. By Jamie A. LaPlante In a much-publicized case, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) obtained a $1.45 million settlement on behalf of female employees who worked in JPMorgan Chase’s Columbus, Ohio, office. The EEOC alleged […]

Lessons from an office ‘kick me’ prank

by Robert P. Tinnin, Jr. Q I recently read a newspaper article concerning a lawsuit filed in federal court in Albuquerque by an Intel employee who is suing his employer for race-based harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Coworkers secretly taped a “kick me” sign to his back and then kicked him as others […]

Words are powerful things: racism and hostile work environments

by Brinton Wilkins Humans are unique in their use of words. With them, we explain the world around us, share our thoughts and feelings, teach, and define ourselves. Therefore, it should be no surprise that words also can injure. Trying to excuse words by saying “I didn’t mean to hurt anybody” or “Everyone says that” […]