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Call someone ‘sweetheart,’ she might call for a retaliation suit

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

Calling a female employee “honey” might not constitute sexual harassment, according to a recent federal ruling on a sexual-harassment case, but retaliating when someone complains about it will win you a ticket to court anyway.

Regina Clemmer filed suit against a Cook County judge in 2006, alleging he told her 20 to 25 times she “looked good” or “beautiful,” or called her “honey” or “dear.” A U.S. District judge found the conduct “regrettable and highly unprofessional,” but concluded it was not severe enough to sustain a sexual-harassment lawsuit.

The court allowed Clemmer to proceed with a retaliation suit, however, finding sufficient evidence that clerical bosses made her work environment tougher after her accusations. 

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