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Can employees' music create a hostile work environment? Stay tuned

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Question: Does your company allow employees to play music while they work? Do you ever pay attention to the words? The EEOC says maybe it’s time you plug in.

A work environment can be considered “hostile” if, in part, the harassment affects a “term, condition or privilege” of a worker’s employment. We’ve all seen cases where oogling, touching and talking have created workplace liability. But now songs and singing, too? Some companies that don’t monitor their employees’ choices in music just might be singing the “EEOC blues,” as the following case shows.

Case in Point: Michael Cooke worked for 10 years as an assembly technician for a California tech company, Novellus Systems. One day, a Vietnamese co-worker began playing rap music on his radio and singing along karaoke style. Some lyrics included the “N” word.

Cooke, who is black, asked his co-worker to stop, but to no avail. Cooke reported thi...(register to read more)

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