Discrimination, Ohio Courts, Sex Discrimination

Ohio Supreme Court Signals Possible Change to Individual Discrimination Liability for Private-Sector Employees

The Ohio Supreme Court recently held that public employees are not personally liable under certain Ohio anti-discrimination laws, but their actions may subject their political-subdivision employers to vicarious liability.

At the same time, the Court indicated that its decision in Hauser v. City of Dayton Police Dep’t, et. al, 2014-Ohio-3636, calls into question whether supervisors and managers of private-sector employers should be held personally liable under Ohio Rev.Code 4112 for discriminatory conduct, as they are now.

Given the right case, it is possible that the Court could decide that, like their public-sector brethren, supervisors and managers of private-sector employers may not be held personally liable for discriminatory conduct.

Continue reading “Ohio Supreme Court Signals Possible Change to Individual Discrimination Liability for Private-Sector Employees”

Discrimination, EEOC

Court Holds Single Act Can Constitute Hostile Workplace

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals recently held a single use of the “N-Word” by a supervisor may create a hostile work environment in Ayissi-Etoh v. Fannie Mae, No. 11-7127 (D.C. Cir. 2013).

Ayissi-Etoh involved an African-American plaintiff, Placide Ayissi-Etoh, alleging his former employer, Fannie Mae, unlawfully discriminated against him in violation of federal anti-discrimination statute 42 U.S.C. § 1981.

The former financial modeling team lead alleged several instances of discrimination in support of his claims. Ayissi-Etoh first pointed to a conversation he had with a supervisor regarding his salary. The plaintiff had recently been promoted along with 11 white co-workers. However, unlike his white peers, Ayissi-Etoh hadn’t received a corresponding pay raise. He inquired as to why this was, and his white supervisor replied “For a young black man smart like you, we are happy to have your expertise; I think I’m already paying you a lot of money.” Ayissi-Etoh also alleged that a different white supervisor yelled “Get out of my office [n-word]” at him during an unrelated heated exchange. The plaintiff responded by filing a discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), at which point his employer reportedly gave him an ultimatum: drop the complaint or lose your job. Ayissi-Etoh was subsequently fired. Continue reading “Court Holds Single Act Can Constitute Hostile Workplace”