Does the ‘Equal Opportunity Jerk’ Defense Still Work? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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Does the ‘Equal Opportunity Jerk’ Defense Still Work?

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This one just might take the cake. Or, at least frost you.

It’s true that employers sometimes trot out the “equal opportunity jerk” defense in sexual harassment cases, saying the harassing manager was awful to both women and men. But this court says that isn’t much of a defense at all, noting that, “It would be exceedingly perverse” if an employer could shield itself from Title VII liability by showing an alleged harasser sometimes abused men “although his preferred targets were female.”

Case in Point: Sharon Kaytor, a secretary at a submarine manufacturing company, was assigned to work for Daniel McCarthy. The first five years were uneventful. Then, around the time of McCarthy’s divorce, his behavior changed.

Kaytor says he began making uncomfortable sexual comments to her, leering at her, standing very close to her and sniffing scarves on her desk. She brushed it off as merely a difficult time in McCarthy’s life.

When she ...(register to read more)

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