Intimidating work environment definition
The question is whether the government acting as sovereign may suppress such speech, on pain of huge liability, in order to protect the employee from it. [T]he fact that a plaintiff learns second-hand of a racially derogatory comment or joke by a fellow employee or supervisor also can impact the work environment . Having to work around people who hate you (even politely hate you) might well create a "hostile, abusive, or offensive work environment." But this shows that harassment law provides no safe harbor even when one is talking to coworkers who one knows won't be offended -- any bigoted statements made at work may lead to harassment liability. Web Page (nondiscrimination statement listing veteran status harassment alongside other forms of harassment); Cameron University, Complaints of Discrimination (same). Speech Among Consenting Listeners: In fact, speech can be punished as harassment even if it isn't overheard by anyone who is offended. Frequency: Finally, the "severe or pervasive" requirement does not require that the offensive speech happen daily or weekly. None of the jokes were said specifically to the complainant; none referred to her; the cartoons were distributed by men and women alike, apparently once or twice a month over several years; the cartoons weren't even sexist or misogynistic. It concluded that the jokes "ha[d] no humorous value to a reasonable person," and "offended [complainant] as a woman." The Commission ordered the city to pay damages, to "not . 51 Art and Music: Likewise, art or music that is seen as politically offensive, misogynistic, or sexually themed can lead to harassment liability. Accurate Discussions Among Co-Workers: Harassment law may also punish accurate statements about coworkers, such as the fact that a coworker parole officer had been a prostitute. or veteran status"); pamphlet #ERD-7334-P (including "membership in the military reserve" in prohibited bases of harassment, alongside race, sex, and so on); IBM Corp., United States Staff Letter No. § 250.45 (1997) (barring discrimination in places of public accommodation based on a person's "lawfully wearing the uniform of any branch of the military or naval service"); Okla. held that such speech could by itself create a hostile, abusive, or offensive environment; 54 and of course as a factual matter this makes sense: When your coworkers, who are law enforcement professionals like you, correctly tell each other that you had committed crimes that many think are pretty reprehensible, of course this will create a chilly environment for you. ." 55 This makes sense as a matter of substantive harassment law: For instance, if I (a Jew) know my coworker is a virulent anti-Semite, I might find it hard to work around him even if he's always polite to my face. § 111.321 (1997) (including membership in national guard or reserves together with all the other proscribed bases of discrimination, in the section that has been read as barring harassment as well as discrimination); Wisconsin Dep't of Workforce Dev., (saying that "[e]mployes may not be harassed in the workplace based on their protected status" and listing "military service membership" as a protected status); Indianapolis and Marion County Code § 581-102 (barring discrimination by city contractors in "terms, privileges, or conditions of employment" based on "disabled veteran status and Vietnam era veteran status"); Anne Arundel Community College, ("Students, faculty, staff and authorized guest users have a right to be free from electronic harassment by any member of the college community on the basis of their sex, sexual orientation, race, . 4 (policy banning veteran status harassment alongside racial, sexual, and other forms of harassment); Weber State University, General Employee Information (same); VNA Health Care Servs. 30 Social and Political Commentary: Likewise, one court has said that coworkers' use of job titles such as "foreman" and "draftsman" may constitute sexual harassment, 31 and a Kentucky human rights agency has gotten a company to change its "Men Working" signs (at a cost of over ,000) on the theory that the signs "perpetuat[e] a discriminatory work environment and could be deemed unlawful under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act." 32 Another court has characterized an employee's hanging "pictures of the Ayatollah Khome[i]ni and a burning American flag in Iran in her own cubicle" as "national-origin harassment" of an Iranian employee who saw the pictures. 33 In another case, the EEOC concluded that an employer had racially harassed a Japanese-American employee by (1) creating an ad campaign that used images of samurai, kabuki, and sumo wrestling to refer to its Japanese competition, and (2) referring to the competition in internal memos and meetings using terms such as "Jap" and "slant-eyed." There were no allegations that the slurs were used to refer to the complaining employee (though it's of course understandable that he found them offensive). Code § 12-1-1, 12-1-3 (barring discrimination in terms and conditions of employment -- which generally includes hostile environment harassment -- based on "gender variance," which includes "a persistent sense that a person's gender identity is incongruent with the person's biological sex"); New Orleans Code §§ 86-1, 86-131 (same as to "gender identification"). Consider a Second Circuit case holding that "ten racially-hostile incidents of which [plaintiff] allegedly was aware during his 20-month tenure," of which only four occurred in his presence, were enough to create a potential harassment case. incidents that did not occur in Schwapp's presence," including one "made prior to Schwapp's employment" and "two comments made during Schwapp's employment [but outside his presence] that were hostile toward minority groups of which Schwapp is not a member. Some cases have held that even a single incident of speech -- for instance, one racial slur by a supervisor, or a "single incident of verbal abuse and negative comment concerning Japanese people" -- may be "severe or pervasive." 56 a First Circuit case, affirmed a harassment finding based on three incidents: two personal slurs (one including a threat), plus the words "White Supremacy" spray-painted in a parking lot. "The district court," the Circuit held, "erred in failing to consider the eight . 57 Other cases have granted summary judgment against harassment claims based on single incidents, or even based on several incidents, on the grounds that they weren't "severe or pervasive" enough. 4, § 208 (1997) (barring discrimination against members of national guard); City of Boston Code §§ 12-9.2, 12-9.3 (barring discrimination against past or present military members).
20 This would be even more true of bigoted or insensitive remarks about minority or female political candidates. §§ 111.31, 111.32 (barring discrimination in "terms, conditions, . Similarly, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) characterized anti-veteran postings at Ohio State University as harassment based on Vietnam-era veteran status: OFCCP's onsite review revealed that the University had not maintained a working environment free of harassment, intimidation and coercion based upon covered veteran status for special disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam Era. or privileges of employment" -- a phrase that has been interpreted in the Title VII context as covering hostile environment harassment -- based on "marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, matriculation, disability, or political affiliation"); Cal. 1995) (barring discrimination based on marital status); N. For example, in one of the departments Professors displayed inflammatory pictures and postings, offensive to Vietnam era veterans on their office windows facing the corridors. 1988) (barring discrimination in "terms, conditions, . 21 Many reasonable people might view strident denunciations of Catholicism, whether political or religious, as creating a hostile environment for devout Catholics, 22 or criticisms of feminism as creating a hostile environment for women. 23 A reasonable person who believes that pinups "encourag[e] men to view [women] as sex objects" 24 might say something like the following, even about classical paintings: I personally find "art" in any form whether it be a painting, a Greek statue or a picture out of Playboy which displays genitals, buttocks, and/or nipples of the human body, to be pornographic and, in this instance, very offensive and degrading to me as a woman.