Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Offers Guidance on Evaluating Whether Racial Harassment is Severe or Pervasive

An employee claiming that he or she worked in an actionably hostile work environment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2, must show that “(1) he was subject to unwelcome harassment; (2) the harassment was based on race (or another protected category); (3) the harassment was severe or pervasive to a degree the altered the conditions of employment and created a hostile or abusive work environment; and (4) there is a basis for employer liability.” Robinson v. Perales, 894 F.3d 818, 828 (7th Cir. 2018). To evaluate the third element, courts look at “the severity of the alleged conduct, its frequency, whether it [wa]s physically threatening or humiliating (or merely offensive), and whether it unreasonably interfere[d] with the employee’s work performance.” Robinson, 894 F.3d at 828. The Seventh Circuit offered additional guidance on what conduct rises to the level to establish a severe or pervasive hostile work environment in Gates v. Board of Education of the City of Chicago, No. 17-3143, 2019 WL 698000 (7th Cir. Feb. 20, 2019).

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Julie Bruch has written several items for The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel Quarterly (IDC Quarterly). The excerpt above is from the original publication. Follow the link above to read the entire article.

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