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Add civility code to prevent avoidable lawsuits

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Do you have a comprehensive civility code? If not, consider adding one. A work environment contaminated by yelling, cursing and other uncivil behavior could lead to discrimination and retaliation lawsuits.

Recent case: Diane, who is black, claimed that when she complained about a supervisor’s alleged affair with a white co-worker, she suddenly found herself yelled at and cursed in the workplace. She said white workers never had to endure such abuse.

The court said her allegations, if proven, could amount to both race discrimination and retaliation for a good-faith internal report of sexual har­­assment. The court concluded that the yelling and cursing could create a “materially significant disadvantage“ in the terms and conditions of her employment. Diane will get a chance to make that case. (Robinson v. Goulet, No. 12-3606, 2nd Cir., 2013)

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