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Telling a Harasser to Back Off is Protected Conduct, Court Says

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 23, 2015

Workers who resist the sexual advances of a harasser are entitled to protection under anti-retaliation laws, a federal appeals court said Wednesday in a ruling that sets up a circuit split.

Siding with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit for the first time ruled that saying no to a harassing supervisor qualifies as protected activity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The three-judge panel upheld a $1.5 million jury award to four former employees of New Breed Logistics for sexual harassment and retaliation.

“Sexual harassment is without question an ‘unlawful employment practice.’ If an employee demands that his/her supervisor stop engaging in this unlawful practice—i.e., resists or confronts the supervisor’s unlawful harassment—the opposition clause’s broad language confers protection to this conduct,” Judge Keith Damon wrote for the panel, which included Chief Judge R. Guy Cole Jr. and Judge Alice Batchelder.

Read the whole story at National Law Review

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