Creating an intimidating work environment

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, . In the EEOC's words, "disparag[ing] the religion or beliefs of others" in the workplace may be illegal; "a Christian employee would have recourse under Title VII if a `secular humanist´ employer" -- or presumably secular humanist coworkers -- "engaged in a pattern of ridiculing the employee's religious beliefs.´" 29 A state administrative agency has found that an employee was religiously harassed by a Seventh Day Adventist coworker who often talked about religion to everyone. The case was finally settled "for undisclosed monetary terms and other commitments." 34 Click here for more examples.

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, .

An attorney can better instruct you on your specific situation, so it is always best to consult an experienced legal professional before moving forward.

Originally published in the Georgetown Law Journal; reproduced with modifications and additions, and some added and omitted footnotes -- footnote numbers track the original. Political, Artistic, Religious, and Socially Themed Speech May Constitute "Harassment" A. 18 "David Duke for President" posters, after all, might well be quite offensive to many reasonable people based on their race, religion, or national origin, and may create a hostile environment; 19 likewise for confederate insignia. or privileges of employment" -- which would include harassing speech -- based on arrest record and conviction record); N. Correction Law § 752 (generally banning discrimination based on having "previously been convicted of one or more criminal offenses"); New York City Comm'n on Human Rights document (asserting that New York City human rights law bars harassment based on, among other things, "record of conviction or arrest"); City of Boston Code §§ 12-9.2, 12-9.3 (barring discrimination in "terms, conditions, or privileges of employment" based on "ex-offender status," defined as an arrest record, a record of conviction for petty misdemeanors, or a record of conviction for any misdemeanor when the sentence had elapsed over 5 years earlier); State of Wisconsin Dep't of Workforce Development, pamhplet #ERD-7334-P (including "arrest or conviction record" in prohibited bases of harassment, alongside race, sex, and so on); Chippewa Valley Technical College, 1996-1997 Catalog Compliance Statement Cornell University (same); The Office of Equal Opportunity's Fall 1996 Semi-Annual Sexual Harassment Report n.3 (treating status as "ex-offender" as equivalent to race, sex, and so on); Nicolet Area Technical College, Affirmative Action policy 001 (same); Northwest Technical College [Minnesota], Affirmative Action -- NTC Policy 1050 (same). City of Boston Code §§ 12-9.2, 12-9.3 (barring discrimination in "terms, conditions, or privileges of employment" -- which includes harassing speech -- based on "prior psychiatric treatment").

33 In another case, the EEOC concluded that an employer had racially harassed a Japanese-American employee by (1) creating an ad campaign that used images of samurai, kabuki, and sumo wrestling to refer to its Japanese competition, and (2) referring to the competition in internal memos and meetings using terms such as "Jap" and "slant-eyed." There were no allegations that the slurs were used to refer to the complaining employee (though it's of course understandable that he found them offensive). Code § 12-1-1, 12-1-3 (barring discrimination in terms and conditions of employment -- which generally includes hostile environment harassment -- based on "gender variance," which includes "a persistent sense that a person's gender identity is incongruent with the person's biological sex"); New Orleans Code §§ 86-1, 86-131 (same as to "gender identification").

Curiously, the EEOC did not focus exclusively or even primarily on the slurs; it seems to have viewed the ads themselves as being as offensive -- and as illegal - - as the slurs. 1996) (barring discrimination in "terms, conditions or privileges of employment" based on, among other things, "marital status"); Seattle, Wash., Code § 14.004.0040 (1986) (same).

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For example, in one of the departments Professors displayed inflammatory pictures and postings, offensive to Vietnam era veterans on their office windows facing the corridors. 1988) (barring discrimination in "terms, conditions, .

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