Monday, February 22, 2016

Same-Sex Harassment Decisions Go Both Ways

Venable LLP, Lexology

A pair of recent federal appeals court decisions aptly illustrate the importance of an effective harassment policy that prohibits same-sex harassment and a prompt and meaningful response to allegations of such behavior. In Smith v. Rock-Ten Services, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld a jury verdict that the employer failed to conduct a good faith investigation and to respond appropriately to complaints of same-sex harassment the jury found to be sufficiently pervasive and severe to support a harassment claim. In Burgess v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit found that an employee's claims of a supervisor's vague sexual advance and threat to rip a cross-bearing necklace from the employee's neck did not demonstrate the necessary pervasiveness or severity of conduct to support a harassment claim.

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