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.
- I was harassed and I quit! Now can I sue—Or get unemployment?
- Good news: No personal liability for age discrimination claims
- Don't 'shoot the messenger', retaliation claim will usually stick
- Simple hearsay about harassment doesn't create hostile environment
- Tough economic times may mean more failure-to-promote suits