Employers must respond promptly to allegations that employee misbehavior is creating a racially, sexually or otherwise hostile work environment.
But what if all an employee only complains about is unspecified name calling? According to a recent 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, that doesn’t trigger employer liability.
Recent case: Terrence Moore, who is black, sued his employer for allowing a racially hostile work environment to exist. He claimed he had complained, but the company did nothing.
As it turned out, he had told supervisors that some co-workers were calling him names. However, he never said anything about racial undertones until he filed the lawsuit.
The court dismissed the case, reasoning the employer never received notice that harassment was occurring. (Moore v. Nebraska Beef, No. 11-1755, 8th Cir., 2011)