Vulgar Language Essay

964 words - 4 pages

Workplace Vulgar Language as a form of Sexual Harassment
ETH 321/Ethical and Legal Topics in Business
Lisa Pollock
Valentine Castillo
September 14, 2015

Workplace Vulgar Language as a form of Sexual Harassment
The possible defenses in the case could be that the words that were being used in C.H. Robinson which were considered vulgar were just non-specified gender words which are general vulgarities words commonly used in various workplaces. One can speak swear words like s…t and f…k which are not unlawful. The words can also be used while cracking jokes and not specified for a given gender. Defense may also argue that the words were being used even before Reeves was employed in ...view middle of the document...

322). The above elements were evident in the Reeves vs C.H. Robinson court case.
Zweig (2010) reported the Circuit court ruling that in the case Reeves vs C.H. Robinson, there was evidence of: indiscriminate vulgarity, gender specific comments made by male employees about women about their sex. The derogatory was directed specifically towards women in the workplace. Conducts and words which are gender specific and are pervasive or severe may cause the workplace environment to be hostile even if such words or conducts are not directed to specific individuals. When male coworkers call female colleagues like “whore”, “bitches” and “cunts”, this may mean that they view female co-workers negatively which is degrading and humiliating to the women (Zweig, 2010).
Therefore, through the basis of court ruling, it can be concluded that: general vulgar terms are not harassment hence unsanctionable; pervasive and severe terms, phrases or words which are gender-specific are considered harassment hence actionable even if such words/terms phrases are not directed to specific individuals but generally used in workplace. Pervasive and severe words which are targeting protected groups like women are also considered sexual harassment hence actionable.
Independent contractors are third parties in a business or a company. Both the independent contractor and the employer will be liable for the sexual harassment. Shah (2007) argued that the employer should be held liable for employees’ workplace sexual harassment by the third parties in that the employer failed to detect and terminate the third party’s pervasive and severe sexual misconduct which created hostile workplace environment for employees of a particular gender. If the employer has control over the sexual harassment of the third party, the employer is held liable (p. 583).

According to Wone (1999), the laws obligate employers to control harassment of any kind at the workplace. Therefore, it is the role of the employer to combat harassment of any kind at the workplace. It is therefore possible to hold employers liable to workplace...

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