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A state court has in fact found that it was religious harassment for an employer to put religious articles in its employee newsletter and Christian-themed verses on its paychecks. or privileges of employment" -- including harassing speech -- based on "political affiliation"); Lansing, Mich. 296.03(2) (barring discrimination in "terms, conditions, . 26 The EEOC likewise found that a claim that an employer "permitted the daily broadcast of prayers over the public address system" over the span of a year was "sufficient to allege the existence of a hostile working environment predicated on religious discrimination." 27 A recent article by two employment lawyers gives "repeated, unwanted `preaching´ episodes [by a fundamentalist Christian employee] that offend coworkers and adversely affect their working conditions" as a "bright-line example" of actionable harassment; an employer in such a situation would be "well advised to take swift remedial action." 28 If polite religious proselytizing can be harassment, then of course harsher criticism of religion would be, too. 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. The Inevitable Need to Suppress Isolated Statements B. It goes far beyond slurs, hardcore pornography, repeated vulgar sexual propositions, and the like, and can suppress, among other things, I aim to prove this claim below. 775 § 5/2-102 (1997) (barring discrimination in "terms, conditions or privileges of employment" -- a phrase that has been interpreted to include harassing speech -- based on "citizenship status"); N. "It is Necessary to Prohibit the Individual Actions" Conclusion: The Speech that Harassment Law Restricts Workplace harassment law is a speech restriction of remarkable breadth. 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).
The case was finally settled "for undisclosed monetary terms and other commitments." 34 Click here for more examples. It does not require that the speech consist of obscenity or fighting words or threats or other constitutionally unprotected statements. The first place to look in determining the scope of harassment law, of course, is the legal definition of "harassment." Speech can be punished as workplace harassment if it's based on race, religion, sex, national origin, 1 age, disability (including obesity), 2 military membership or veteran status, 3 or, in some jurisdictions, sexual orientation, marital status, 4 transsexualism or cross-dressing, 5 political affiliation, 6 criminal record, 7 prior psychiatric treatment, 8 occupation, 9 citizenship status, 10 personal appearance, 11 "matriculation," 12 tobacco use outside work, 13 Appalachian origin, 14 receipt of public assistance, 15 or dishonorable discharge from the military 16 Note what the definition does not require. 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.
58 I don't suggest that single incidents or even biweekly or bimonthly incidents will lead to the case going to the jury. Under the logic of harassment law, such bans on discrimination also ban hostile environment harassment. 775 §§ 5/1-103(Q), 5/2-102 (barring discrimination in "terms, privileges, or conditions of employment" based on "military status"); 51 Penn.