It’s not just harassment from co-workers and supervisors that can become the basis for a hostile environment claim. When a subordinate harasses his boss and the employer doesn’t intervene, the supervisor has a claim. That’s why it’s important to address all harassment, whatever its source.
Recent case: Vasco, who is Hispanic, claimed that as soon as he started his supervisory position, one of his subordinates began a campaign of harassment. The subordinate and Vasco’s supervisor are black.
Vasco complained for years about the subordinate, who allegedly threatened him and was verbally abusive. It was many months before the subordinate was fired.
Vasco sued, alleging he had worked in a racially hostile environment. The court said he could take his case to trial due to the long time between his complaints and the employer’s resolution. (Espinoza v. Spencer, No. 10-03213, ED CA, 2014)