join our network! affiliate login  
Custom Search
GET OUR FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTERS!
Daily and Weekly Editions • Articles • Alerts • Expert Advice • Learn More

50 Shades Of Grey... In The Boardroom

As the weather heats up, summertime romances are probably on the minds of many of your employees. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, as many as 40% of workers have had an office relationship at some point in their careers. Even though employees might view office romances as harmless, they can often lead to a host of legal issues for an employer. In order to keep the boardroom from turning into the War of the Roses, companies should consider implementing an official “love contract” policy.

New Harassment and Retaliation Standard in Fourth Circuit

Last month, in Boyer-Liberto v. Fontainebleau Corp., No. 13-1473 (4th Cir. May 7, 2015), the federal Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which includes North and South Carolina, articulated a new standard for analyzing claims of hostile work environment and retaliation under Title VII. For employers, the new standard may prove challenging in some respects but may also serve as a call to action.

Harassment "must-have" no. 5: No retaliation!

We have reached the fifth and final of our five harassment "must-haves": No retaliation.

Harassment "must-have" no. 4: The Determination

It’s the moment of truth! (Dum-dum-DUM!)

Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation in the Fourth Circuit, Part II: Recent Decisions Create New Challenges for Employers

Part one of this two-part series discussed the first of two significant rulings issued by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in May of 2015. The first part focused on Boyer-Liberto v. Fontainebleau Corporation, No. 13-473 (May 7, 2015), in which the Fourth Circuit overruled existing precedent and concluded that an isolated incident of harassment was severe enough to create a hostile work environment. Part two focuses on Foster v. University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, No. 14-1073 (May 21, 2015), in which the Fourth Circuit rejected an argument that the Supreme Court of the United States in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar intended to create a “heightened causation standard” for retaliation claims brought under the burden-shifting McDonnell Douglas framework.

Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation in the Fourth Circuit, Part I: Recent Decisions Create New Challenges for Employers

In May 2015, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (which has jurisdiction over federal courts in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina) issued two opinions with negative consequences for employers facing claims of hostile work environment or retaliation.

Five harassment "must haves" for employers

Maybe it's just me, but workplace harassment issues seem to come in waves — I’ll go months, or even a year, without an issue, and then WHAM! everybody has a "situation," or at least they need to get their preventive training done.

What Constitutes Harassment? Impact of New Law

Retaliation and harassment are the most commonly filed employment law claims nationwide. After the Fourth Circuit’s recent decision in Boyer-Liberto v. Fountainbleau Corp., No. 13-1473 (4th Cir. May 7, 2015) lawsuits alleging hostile work environment and harassment will only be more difficult for employers to dispose of. The Fourth Circuit held that a single instance of harassment may create an actionable hostile work environment claim, and that an employee can be protected from retaliation when complaining about harassment, even if the purported harassment is ultimately not severe enough to create a hostile work environment.

Is this new harassment decision the end of the world for employers?

Are harassment and retaliation lawsuits all going to the jury now? Are employers doomed? Are the plaintiffs' lawyers popping the champagne corks? Is the EEOC dancing for joy?

Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation Claims Harder to Defend After Fourth Circuit Ruling

Last week’s decision by the Fourth Circuit in Boyer-Liberto v. Fontainebleau Corp., No. 13-1473 (4th Cir., May 7, 2015) now means that in the Fourth Circuit, a single instance of harassment may create an actionable hostile work environment claim, and that an employee can be protected from retaliation when complaining about harassment, even if the purported harassment is ultimately not severe enough to create a hostile work environment. The Fourth Circuit’s decision to overturn summary judgment in favor of the defendant-employer signals an uphill battle for employers’ attempting to obtain summary judgment on matters where hostile work environment is alleged. The standard for a viable hostile work environment or harassment claim under Title VII is that the conduct at issue is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the plaintiff’s terms and conditions of employment, thus resulting in an abusive environment. Single incidents, stray comments, or isolated utterances have long been held insufficient to meet the standard. The Fourth Circuit deviated from this standard when it found that an isolated racial slur by a supervisor was sufficient, by itself, to allow both a hostile work environment and retaliation claim to proceed to trial.