Hostile Work Environment

To state the obvious: yes, sexual harassment is not limited to men harassing women and yes, same sex harassment exists. Perhaps it is rarer, but it does happen. What almost certainly happens less often in 2020 than in prior decades—given the prevalence of corporate anti-discrimination policies, trainings, HR personnel and an increased cultural awareness—is brazen, unapologetic harassment, compounded by retaliatory termination. But that is what the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleges occurred in a lawsuit it filed on behalf of a terminated employee in central Florida in July.

And, since harassment is usually more subtle and less egregious than that alleged in this EEOC lawsuit, the lawsuit might be a good case study, a blueprint, a same sex sexual harassment archetype of the type of conduct employers must vigorously seek to prevent and avoid.

The complaint can be found here.

The EEOC alleges that Defendant Shelley’s Septic Tank (“Shelley’s”) and its owner, Mr. David Shelley, employed Richard Colon as a truck driver from February 2017 until May 2018. According to the EEOC, Shelley subjected Mr. Colon to a sexually hostile work environment, both through comments and physical contact.

The “unwelcome, sexually charged comments”, included Mr. Shelley:

  • calling Mr. Colon “buttercup” near daily;
  • calling Mr. Colon “pretty” after he shaved or trimmed his beard; and
  • “plac[ing] his hands in a diamond around his penis and [telling] Mr. Colon to ‘back up to this’.”

The EEOC also alleged Mr. Shelley engaged in “unwelcome, sexual conduct and physical contact” against Mr. Colon, including:

  • “stroking Mr. Colon’s arms and leg”;
  • “blowing kisses at Mr. Colon”;
  • “on one occasion, [using] a stick to poke Mr. Colon between his butt cheeks;” and
  • On one day “grabb[ing] Mr. Colon’s buttocks over his clothes and [running] his finger between Mr. Colon’s butt cheeks.”


Continue Reading Same Sex Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation: A Case Study

Federal law not only protects you from workplace discrimination during pregnancy, but also from discrimination after pregnancy. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) of 1978 amended the Civil Rights Act to include discrimination “on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k). Some federal courts have held that breastfeeding or pumping

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in O’Daniel v. Industrial Service Solutions, released on April 19, 2019, affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of a lawsuit that claimed harassment and discrimination based on her heterosexual orientation. The Fifth Circuit held that there were no protections for sexual orientation employment discrimination under the law.

Bonnie

The #MeToo movement has brought many things to light over the last year along with a lot of questions about what is considered sexual harassment and what to do about it. If you are interested in learning more about these issues, Lapin & Leichtling, LLP will be hosting a Lunch & Learn on March 19,

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Ray v. International Paper Company, released on November 28, 2018, overturned a lower federal court’s decision to dismiss Tamika Ray’s sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and retaliation claims against her employer, International Paper Company, for lack of sufficient evidence to support her claims. The FourthCircuit found Ms.

Si usted tiene una demanda de acoso sexual laboral, lo que usted reporta inicialmente a la Comisión de Igualdad de Oportunidades de Empleo (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission en inglés), y cómo lo reporta, puede afectar su demanda legal en las cortes.

Antes de interponer una demanda de acoso sexual laboral en contra de

A Florida appellate court reversed a lower trial court’s decision to summarily dispose of a guidance counselor’s workplace sexual harassment claim against the Broward County School Board for the conduct of the principal of the school where she worked. The lower court had ruled that Cherellda Branch-McKenzie, the guidance counselor, did not provide evidence to

If you have a claim for workplace sexual harassment, what is initially reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), and how it’s reported, may affect your legal claim in court.

Before filing a lawsuit based on workplace sexual harassment against an employer under Title VII, a victim is required to file a charge with

The world’s third largest airline has been accused of failing to protect a female flight attendant from years of harassment by a male pilot. The Washington Post reports that the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission filed a lawsuit in federal court in Texas last week, alleging that the airline refused to take action against a pilot