Harassment Judgment

By Mark Kobata

Jun. 26, 2015

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought sexual harassment and retaliation for opposing sexual harassment claims against New Breed Logistics on behalf of four former New Breed employees.

A jury returned a verdict of $1.5 million against New Breed and the alleged harasser. New Breed appealed, arguing that three of the plaintiffs had not engaged in protected activity sufficient to support a retaliation claim. 

New Breed specifically argued that the three employees did not complain about harassment. Instead, they merely told the alleged harasser, their supervisor, to stop his harassing behavior. New Breed argued that simply asking the harasser to stop his behavior did not qualify as protected activity because it does not amount to “opposition” to unlawful behavior under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. New Breed took the position that employees need to actually complain to someone, rather than simply ask the harasser to stop, to be engaged in protected activity.

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected this argument, holding that telling a supervisor to stop his or her alleged harassing behavior qualified as “opposition” to unlawful activity under Title VII. Thus, according to the 6th Circuit, an employer can be liable for retaliation against an employee even where the only thing an employee does to “oppose” harassment is to tell the person doing the harassing to stop. EEOC v. New Breed Logistics, 2015 BL 114197, 6th Cir., No. 13-6250 (April 22, 2015)

IMPACT:Employers can be guilty of retaliation even where the only person aware of the protected activity is the harasser. Since employers should not expect harassers to report complaints about their alleged harassment, this makes it crucial that employees be well-educated in how and when to report harassment.  



Mark Kobata and Marty Denis are partners at the law firm Barlow, Kobata and Denis, which has offices in Beverly Hills, California, and Chicago.

What’s New at

blog workforce

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.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog


Minimum Wage by State in 2023 – All You Need to Know

Summary Twenty-three states and D.C. raised their minimum wage rates in 2023, effective January 1.  Thr...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog


New Labor Laws Taking Effect in 2023

The new year is fast approaching, and with its arrival comes a host of new labor laws that will impact ...

labor laws, minimum wage, wage and hour law

workforce blog


Wage and Hour Laws in 2022: What Employers Need to Know

Whether a mom-and-pop shop with a handful of employees or a large corporation staffing thousands, compl...

compliance, wage and hour law