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Isolated attack not grounds for harassment lawsuit

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Employers can control some hazardous work conditions, but not all of them. What a particular customer or client may do when he comes in contact with an employee likely falls into the uncontrollable category.

Recent case: Neyla worked as a certified nursing assistant at a veteran’s center. When she was instructed to care for a patient sitting in a television room, she approached him. He then allegedly tried to rape her and pushed her through a glass door.

Neyla sued, alleging she had been forced to work in a sexually hostile environment.

But she never presented any evidence that her employer, her boss or anyone associated with her employer knew that the resident might be violent or otherwise dangerous. Absent more than a one-time incident, the court said the employer was not liable for sexual harassment. (Fandino v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. 13-CV-4302, ED PA, 2013)

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