New Case Holds that Hugging Can Constitute Sexual Harassment

New Case Holds that Hugging Can Constitute Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in a decision yesterday that hugging by a supervisor can constitute sexual harassment.  In that case, the plaintiff, a correctional officer, alleged that the sheriff created a hostile work environment by hugging her.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, but the court of appeal reversed, holding that “differences in the sheriff’s hugging of men and women were not, as the defendants argued, ‘just genuine but innocuous differences in the ways men and women routinely interact with members of the same sex and the opposite sex.'” Rather, the court concluded that “hugging can create a hostile or abusive workplace when it is unwelcome and pervasive.”  The case is Zetwick v. County of Yolo et al, and you can read the full decision here: http://sos.metnews.com/sos.cgi?0217//14-17341.

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