Companies Can Be Held Liable For E-Harassment

Jan. 13, 2005
Compiled By Michael A. Verespej The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that an employer can be liable for sexual harassment that occurs electronically -- even if the harassment occurs outside of the organization's direct communications system. The ...
Compiled ByMichael A. Verespej The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that an employer can be liable for sexual harassment that occurs electronically -- even if the harassment occurs outside of the organization's direct communications system. The court ruled that Continental Airlines was liable for the harassment of a female pilot that occurred through comments made on an electronic bulletin board. The bulletin board served as a virtual community for the exchange of ideas by crew members. The court ruled that the harassment constituted a hostile work environment and awarded the pilot $1.6 million. The decision, says Stephen J. Cabot, chairman of the Labor and Employment Law Dept. at Harvey, Pennington, Cabot, Griffith & Renneisen Ltd., expands the definition of what constitutes a hostile work environment to include any company-sponsored electronic communications system -- even if those communications systems are outside of the scope of the organization's direct business communications network.

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