Monday, August 30, 2010

Appeals Court Rules Single Incident Triggers Harassment Law

Workforce Management
August 25, 2010
The plaintiff’s attorney said that although the civil rights law establishes that a severe-enough single incident of harassment violates the law, most lawsuits charge either pervasive or severe and pervasive harassment.

a single incident of sexual harassment, if severe enough, can violate federal civil rights law, a federal appellate court said in a decision Monday, August 23.
The decision by the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cynthia Berry v. Chicago Transit Authority involved a dispute by Berry, who was a carpenter with the CTA, with a fellow worker over a card game in January 2006.
Berry said that after she refused to get up so that a co-worker, Philip Carmichael, could partner with another worker in a game during a morning break, Carmichael grabbed her breasts, lifted her up from a bench and rubbed her buttocks against the front of his body. Berry said that when she landed off-balance with only one leg on the ground, Carmichael pushed her into a fence.
When Berry reported the incident to a manager, he told her he did not care what happened because she was a “pain in the butt,” predicted she would lose her job if she filed charges, and promised he was going to do “whatever it takes to protect the CTA,” the opinion said.

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