Who are YOU to tell ME that I’m not offended by sexual harassment?!?

toiletpaper.jpgThe original working title for the post was “The Third Circuit takes a deuce on my ‘Pottymouths’ post.” I meant it in the figurative sense. Otherwise, I would be at a loss for words with IT. 

More so than usual…

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But, fortunately, good taste and high morals — we’re all about that here at the Handbook {cough} {fart} — prevailed.

Click through to see what a federal appellate court had to say about whether a female plaintiff with an apparent propensity for the cursey-cursey may successfully pursue her sexual-harassment claims.

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Back in August of 2011, I had a post entitled, “Pottymouths don’t usually win sexual harassment lawsuits,” where I discussed a federal court’s dismissal of a female plaintiff’s sexual-harassment claims. 

In its opinion (here) the court determined that although the plantiff was exposed to demeaning names — among other things — at a clip of about 35 times per month, she did not find them offensive because she “actively participated in creating a work environment in which vulgarity and sexual innuendo were commonplace.” Indeed, according to the lower court, her “use of explicit language and her e-mails involving ongoing sexual jokes demonstrate a casual ease with this type of workplace behavior.”

In an opinion issued on Tuesday (here), Third Circuit Court of Appeals was “troubled” at how the lower court reached its conclusion:

Although Mandel engaged in certain unprofessional conduct, the comments and conduct to which she was subject were often worse and apparently uninvited. Mandel complained about being told to make coffee, and although she did not complain to her supervisors about the other alleged incidents, there is some evidence that she complained to other employees. She also resigned shortly after Bachert called her a “bitch” during a meeting and alleged in her sworn EEOC Charge and questionnaires that she was detrimentally affected. A jury could reasonably conclude that Mandel did not invite these comments or conduct and that, despite her own conduct, was offended by them.

So the case heads back to the lower court for further adjudication.

Fortunately, my three takeaways from my earlier post hold up, especially the one about where the plaintiff will never admit that the sexual harassment didn’t offend her. Ever.