Employers liable for third-party harassment

A recent federal appeals court decision affirmed an employer’s liability for harassment by an outside salesman.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a published opinion,  “An employer is liable under Title VII for third parties creating a hostile work environment if the employer knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take prompt remedial action reasonably calculated to end the harassment.”

Citing the same reasoning used as a basis for imposing liability on employers for coworker harassment, the appeals court noted that an employer should not be able to skirt liability by adopting a “see no evil, hear no evil” approach.  As a result of the decision, the standard for third-party sexual harassment is identical to the regular definition for sexual harassment and must be so severe or pervasive that it creates a hostile or abusive work environment.

If you have been the victim of harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, or sex, contact the attorneys at the Lundell Law Firm at 704-288-4057 to discuss the facts of your case.  You may also find other helpful resources by navigating our website to learn more about employment laws and discrimination in the workplace.

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