Articles Posted in Sexual Harassment/Hostile Work Environment

A district court in Tennessee has permitted some claims in a sexual harassment suit to move forward after one male employee accused a male coworker of inappropriate behavior.

In Smith v. Rock-TENN Services, Inc., Jeffrey Smith worked for Rock-Tenn Services, Inc., a box and packaging materials manufacturer from August 2010 until the end of September 2011.  Around the beginning of 2011, Smith claimed that a male coworker, James Leonard, slapped him on the rear during a shift.  In accordance with the company’s sexual harassment policy, Smith first informed Leonard that he did not want Leonard touching him.  A few days later, Leonard allegedly grabbed Smith “in the crack of his butt,” hard enough that his rear was irritated for two days.  This time, Smith grabbed Leonard by the arm and threatened him, but he did not report either incident to a higher authority.  However, Leonard was eventually placed on a performance improvement plan for “horseplay sexual harassment” after another employee reported him.  Leonard was informed that any further sexual harassment allegations would be grounds for termination.

Nonetheless, in June 2011, Smith claimed that Leonard grabbed him by the hips while he was bent over a machine and thrust his genitals against him.  Smith then grabbed Leonard by the throat and held him for roughly 30 seconds before releasing him.  Smith then reported the incident to his supervisor, as well as to two other supervisors.  One supervisor he informed of all three incidents.  After an investigation was done, the supervisors concluded that Leonard should be terminated.  However, the general manager, who was unaware of all three of Leonard’s actions toward Smith, disagreed and thought that the evidence was only enough to merit a three-day suspension as a final warning.

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against the owner of a well-known Atlanta-area restaurant/nightclub, Taboo 2 Bar and Bistro. The agency has alleged that Sirdah Enterprises, Inc. broke the law by permitting, on an ongoing basis, sexual harassment to take place with respect to its female servers throughout the course of their careers with the company.

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Sexual harassment in the workplace is more common than people realize, but it often goes unreported because many victims do not want to risk losing their jobs if they discuss the issue with their employers. According to a report released by the Everyday Sexism Project, both men and women are experiencing workplace harassment on a routine basis. Your Atlanta sexual harassment lawyer will tell you that oftentimes, the victims are blamed for the occurrence of sexual harassment; however, more and more companies and individuals are starting to take such claims and allegations much more seriously.

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Whenever an individual is sexually harassed in the workplace, he or she might wonder about the best way to handle the situation. Sexual harassment is a problem not only for women, but for men as well. Thousands of charges related to sexual harassment are filed by both genders with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on a yearly basis. But what many victims of harassment don’t know is that there may be instances in which their employers can be held legally responsible for the harassment.

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On Tuesday, June 5, 2012, Parks, Chesin & Walbert scored a decisive victory for Seven Oaks Academy of Lilburn, Georgia, successfully defending the small daycare against a former employee’s appeal of the District Court’s Order dismissing her lawsuit. The plaintiff’s claims, which grew out of allegations of religious discrimination, included religious harassment, hostile work environment, civil conspiracy, and negligent hiring and retention, and sought the statutory maximums in compensatory and punitive damages.

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