January 21, 2020

January 21, 2020

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January 20, 2020

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Employer Granted Summary Judgment on Claims of Hostile Work Environment by Equal Opportunity Harasser

A federal district court in Alabama granted an employer’s motion for summary judgment regarding a former general manager’s hostile work environment claims. Thrower v. Yedla Management CoPlaintiff, a Caucasian female, alleged that during her employment, the Purchasing Manager mistreated her on the basis of gender and race, creating a hostile work environment by excessively questioning her decisions and yelling and cursing at her.  She made complaints to her superior but alleges no action was taken.  Six months into her employment, she was terminated.

Plaintiff was unable to offer any evidence that she was mistreated due to her race or gender. The record established that her manager treated virtually all coworkers unpleasantly.  As the court noted, “Title VII was never intended to protect employees from all unpleasant and rude conduct in the workplace.”  Because Plaintiff could not establish that male or non-white employees were treated more favorably, the hostile work environment claim was dismissed.

The evidence in this case showed that the manager did not treat Plaintiff differently due to her gender or race.  However, employers should not ignore “equal opportunity harassers.”  Such behavior leads to disgruntled employees who likely will assert claims that employers necessarily have to defend at great expense.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020

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About this Author

Kristie M. Fontana, Jackson Lewis, Title VII Compliance Lawyer, Family and Medical Leave attorney
Associate

Kristie M. Fontana is an Associate in the Long Island, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C.

Ms. Fontana assists federal contractors in the preparation of affirmative action plans and defends contractors against allegations of discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and veteran status in connection with audits by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and in related litigation brought on OFCCP’s behalf by the Solicitor’s Office at the U.S. Department of Labor. She also advises...

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