Archive for the ‘Harassment’ Category

Spankasauras and the Land of the Hostile Work Environment

 

The Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania recently held that a white female detective with the Philadelphia Police Department plausibly alleged that the city subjected her to a hostile work environment based upon the cumulative effect of alleged harassing conduct that included, among other things, a lieutenant calling her a “spankasauras” and “gabbygail.” 

Alone, such isolated or sporadic incidents would not support a claim of hostile work environment harassment, but the court found that such events viewed in conjunction could be deemed to create a humiliating and hostile work environment.  In the matter of Salvato v. Smith, the plaintiff alleged that in addition to being called names, she was treated differently than her male and black female coworkers in that the plaintiff was constantly questioned about her whereabouts, denied training opportunities, was not allowed to take personal calls from her child’s school, had her log-in times scrutinized, was denied requests for a steady shift, had her sick-leave scrutinized, received a warning letter in her personnel file, and was denied a transfer.   Moreover, much of the activity occurred after the plaintiff filed a grievance with the Fraternal Order of Police and a complaint with the EEO unit for discrimination. 

Although it remains to be seen how this case will play out, this case serves as a reminder to employers to be mindful of how supervisors treat employees after a grievance is filed.

This article is authored by attorney Kimberly J. Overbaugh and is intended for educational purposes and to give you general information and a general understanding of the law only, not to provide specific legal advice.  Any particular questions should be directed to your legal counsel or, if you do not have one, please feel free to contact us.

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