Read the “Sidebar 20.6”
700- to 1,050-words in which you analyze the sexual harassment issues presented in scenario.
- Analyze each of the elements of this case: the applicable defenses and the basis for the court’s ruling.
- Analyze the possible liability in this case if the sexual harasser(s) were an independent contractor versus an employee.
Cite to at least three peer-reviewed sources.
Format APA guidelines.
Vulgar Workplace Language & Sexual Harassment
Can vulgar language, even if it is not specifically
directed at an individual, be actionable as sexual
harassment under Title VII? Yes—according to the
11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The plaintiff, Ingrid
Reeves, worked at a sales company, C.H. Robinson.
Reeves alleged that she was subjected to hearing her
male co-workers call other women names such as
“b***h,” “wh**e” and “c**t” on a daily basis. She also
claimed that there were repeated vulgar discussions
about female body parts and a pornographic image
of a woman in the office. Reeves complained to her
co-workers, her supervisor, and top company executives,
but the offensive conduct was “accepted and
According to the 11th Circuit, “if Reeves’s account
is to be believed, C.H. Robinson’s workplace was more
than a rough environment—indiscriminately vulgar,
profane, and sexual. Instead, a just reasonably could
find that it was a workplace that exposed Reeves to
disadvantageous terms or conditions of employment
to which members of the other sex were not exposed.”
Moreover, the court stated that it was no defense to
assert “that the workplace may have been vulgar and
sexually degrading before Reeves arrived.”
For more information, see, Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.,
07-10270 (11th Cir. Jan. 20, 2010), available at www.ca11.uscourts.gov/
>> sidebar 20.6