It’s Business, And It’s Personal

North Carolina sex harassment lawsuit revived by appeals court

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2021 | Employment Law |

North Carolina workers who have been subjected to mistreatment on the job are often left at the mercy of how employment law is interpreted by the courts. With the ongoing changes to how workers are protected based on multiple factors including the Civil Rights Act, it is important to be up-to-date on how cases are assessed. This is especially true when there are appeals of cases that judges did not allow to move forward. Employees should make sure they are aware of their rights to be free of discrimination for any reason. When these behaviors occur, moving forward with a claim is a viable option.

Man’s lawsuit over same-sex harassment can proceed

A case in which a man working for a North Carolina underwater services company claimed he was subjected to inappropriate sexual comments and other employment violations. A judge issued a summary judgment stopping the case, but after an appeals court review, it has been revived. The case had been thrown out of court because the federal judge used too narrow a focus when analyzing the case based on examples provided by the U.S. Supreme Court. There were three examples that, according to the judge, did not fit in with the interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The man’s case was supported by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In the initial complaint, the man said that his supervisor had made comments asserting he was homosexual. Other comments were made and two physical assaults were alleged. After complaining to human resources, nothing was done. The behavior continued. The company said the worker had committed safety violations and he was subsequently fired. He filed a lawsuit in 2017 saying his employee rights were violated. The appeals court determined that the case should have been allowed to continue.

Providing guidance for employees to stand up for their rights

In recent years, employees have been emboldened to stand up for themselves when transgressions take place at work. Unfortunately, many employers still violate employee rights, behave in inappropriate ways, take advantage of workers and discriminate against them. Workers could be intimidated and fearful that nothing of consequence will be done to address their concerns and they might even face sanctions on the job for speaking up. As this recent decision shows, it is imperative to keep fighting. Whether it is sexual harassment, religious discrimination, discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender discrimination or for any other reason, having professional assistance can be crucial to a successful claim.