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Few details needed to begin hostile environment suit

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Employees who claim they were victims of a sexually hostile work environment don’t have to provide an exhaustive list of alleged hostile acts. Details can be provided later.

Recent case: Maryann claimed that a co-worker sent her sexually e­­xplicit text messages. She finally complained to management—and alleged that she was punished for doing so. For example, she claimed she was suddenly subjected to random drug screenings when she had never been tested before.

The employer asked the court to toss out Maryann’s sexually hostile work environment claim, since the original complaint contained few details beyond claims that some of the texts were sexual.

The court refused to dismiss the case, reasoning that Maryann should have a chance to provide details in a revised complaint. (Downey v. Road and Rail, No. 1-14-1297, MD PA, 2015)

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