Time & Attendance
By Staff Report
Apr. 8, 2013
In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Boh Brothers Constr. Co., ironworker Kerry Woods (male) asserted that his supervisor, Chuck Wolfe, subjected him to all of the following:
Neither Woods nor Wolfe is homosexual. According to the Court, the workplace was full of this type of misogynistic and homophobic epithets, and the recipients, including Woods, responded in kind.
After Woods’s termination, he filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC, claiming, among other things, same-sex harassment. In the subsequent lawsuit filed the EEOC, the jury returned a verdict in Woods’s favor, awarding him $200,000 in compensatory damages (statutorily reduced to $50,000) and $250,000 in punitive damages.
The 5th Circuit, however, reversed:
Title VII protects employees against workplace discrimination, not against all forms of mistreatment. The EEOC alleges that Woods was unlawfully harassed because he was not stereotypically masculine. Because the only evidence of non-stereotypically masculine behavior in the record is Woods’s use of “Wet Ones,” we conclude that the evidence is insufficient to support the jury’s verdict that Woods was discriminated against “because of … sex.”
In other words, Woods could not establish unlawful same-sex harassment because Wolfe was not homosexual, was not hostile to men in the workplace, and worked in a single-sex workplace. The 5th Circuit left for another day the question of whether sex stereotyping is a cognizable form of same-sex harassment under Title VII.
It appears that day is upon us. Last month, the 5th Circuit agreed to rehear this case en banc.
The issue will resolve tension between two Supreme Court opinions:
If the 5th Circuit reverses course and permits the EEOC to pursue Woods’s claim for general same-sex harassment, it will signal a giant step towards doing that which Congress has refused—protecting sexual orientation from discrimination as a class.
Come see what we’re building in the world of predictive employee scheduling, superior labor insights and next-gen employee apps. We’re on a mission to automate workforce management for hourly employees and bring productivity, optimization and engagement to the frontline.
Workplace CultureWorkplace productivity statistics and trends you need to know
Summary There was a 2.4% decrease in productivity in Q2 2022 – the largest decline since the U.S. Burea...
productivity, statistics, trends, workplace
Workplace Culture5 lunch break statistics that shed light on American work culture
Summary Research shows how taking lunch breaks enhances employee engagement and productivity. Despite t...
lunch breaks, scheduling, statistics
Workplace Culture6 Things Leadership can do to Prevent Nurse Burnout
Summary Nurse burnout is a serious issue in the healthcare business and has several negative consequenc...
burnout, Healthcare, hospitals, nurses