ambiguous workplace conduct

Employers struggle with conduct that appears ambiguous but is interpreted by the “victim” as unlawful.  The dilemma arises most often in a sexual harassment setting.  For example, a co-worker comments that another’s clothes make her “look good” or that he “really likes” her perfume.  Employers, and courts, struggle with the intent behind this conduct.  For example, a recent case involved racial harassment allegations based in part on bananas and banana peels littering the truck of an African-American co-worker. Daily Report Online wrote about this case on its website last week.

Would such anonymous conduct support a claim for a racially hostile environment?  In December 2010, in granting summary judgment to an employer, an Alabama Federal District Court said, “No.”
Continue Reading Employer Dilemma – How Should An Employer Respond to Ambiguous Workplace Conduct