11th Circuit reverses a lower court’s summary judgment dismissing a gender-based employment discrimination claim by analogizing to race.

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From The Blog of Legal Times:

… In the case, the plaintiff, Ingrid Reeves, worked as the only female transportation sales representative in the Transportation Sales Section of C. H. Robinson Worldwide’s Birmingham, Alabama branch office.

Reeves alleged in her lawsuit that the Fortune 500 third-party logistics company was responsible for her exposure to sexually offensive language from the summer of 2001 to spring 2004. She also alleges she was routinely exposed to talk radio programs that discussed a number of sexually explicit topics, including erotic dreams and female pornography. She also claimed her coworkers told crude jokes and when she complained, they told her to bring earplugs to work.

District court judge Inge Johnson dismissed her claim, saying that her lawsuit was not actionable because the conduct in question was not directed at her specifically. An 11th Circuit panel overturned that decision on Monday. Circuit Judge Charles R. Wilson wrote in his opinion that, “Though we have never explicitly held that such ‘sex specific’ language satisfies the ‘based on’ element in a sexual harassment hostile work environment case even when the language does not target the plaintiff, we do so today in light of our race-discrimination cases.”

Wilson cited Walker vs. Ford Motor Co. from 1982, in which a black male working at a car dealership claimed that his coworkers used offensive racial epithets. …

The full opinion is here (PDF).

–Via Leslie Bender

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