Court: Georgia flag’s Confederate design does not create a hostile work environment

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to reinstate a hostile work environment case involving the display of the Georgia state flag.

Recent case: Sharon, who is black, has worked for the South­ampton Union Free School District as a teacher. She sued, alleging she had been forced to work in a racially hostile work environment. Her main example of that hostility involved the display of a flag she deemed a Con­­federate one. The flag was part of an array of several state flags that the school principal displayed in a school hallway.

The school district argued that the flag in question was actually the Georgia state flag, whose design incorporates visual references to the Confederate flag used during the Civil War. That was enough for the court to toss out the case. (Solomon v. Southampton Union Free School District, No. 11-3935, 2nd Cir., 2012)

Final note: The Georgia state flag has included elements of Con­federate flags since 1956, when the flag was revised to include the battle flag of the Confederate States. After much public outcry in 2001, the flag was changed to remove that element.

Two years later, the flag was again changed—this time the design was based on the official Confederate States flag, which consists of two red stripes and one white stripe with a blue rectangle in the upper right-hand corner.

The 2003 flag is identical to the previous version except for the in­­clusion of the state motto.

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