loader
Page is loading...
generic_insight_detail

Severe AND Pervasive?

December 9, 2013 |  Employment Discrimination


The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently overturned a Texas District Court after it appeared to apply the wrong legal standard in a sexual harassment lawsuit. In Royal v. CCC&R, Tonia Royal was fired after complaining to her supervisor that two maintenance workers regularly visited her office and, among other things, sniffed her in a suggestive manner. Following her termination, Royal initiated a lawsuit alleging she was subjected to unlawful sexual harassment.

In order to demonstrate actionable sexual harassment, Royal was required to demonstrate that the conduct complained of was either severe (e.g. sexual assault) or pervasive (repetitive conduct over a period of time). In reversing the lower Court’s decision to dismiss the case, the Fifth Circuit noted that the Judge seemed to apply the wrong standard. Specifically, the Judge suggested in his opinion that the conduct did not rise to the level of actionable sexual harassment because it was not both severe and pervasive. However, even minor instances of sexual misconduct can, over time, constitute actionable harassment.

This case reminds us of the importance of addressing even seemingly minor complaints regarding questionable employee conduct. What might seem like “no big deal” in isolation, may constitute actionable harassment if it continues to occur over a period of time.


LEAVE YOUR COMMENT

RELATED ARTICLES

Workplace Culture 2.0: More Leadership, Less Management

May 29, 2018 | Workplace Culture and Conduct

When Is A Sexual Harassment Policy And Training Ineffective?

April 26, 2018 | Workplace Culture and Conduct

Sex, Power & the Workplace Responding to the Skeptics Q&A: Part 2

April 4, 2018 | Workplace Culture and Conduct

Sexual Harassment 2.1: Keep Up, We Are Moving Fast…

February 20, 2018 | Workplace Culture and Conduct

Sexual Harassment In The Non-Profit World

February 14, 2018 | Workplace Culture and Conduct

Subscribe

Do you want to receive more valuable insights directly in your inbox? Visit our subscription center and let us know what you're interested in learning more about.

View Subscription Center
Trending Connect
We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By clicking any link on this page you are giving your consent for us to use cookies.