Harris v. Forklift Systems

When do abusive comments in the workplace constitute sexual harassment? This was the question that the U.S. Supreme Court confronted in Harris v. Forklift Systems (1993). In Harris, the Supreme Court decided that plaintiffs in Title VII workplace harassment suits need not prove psychological injury. On the other hand, the Court acknowledged that merely offensive jokes or comments are unlikely to be grounds for sexual harassment suits.

The Court's ruling in Harris, even though it arose in the context of a private sector labor dispute, provides guidance about when employers, including school boards, can be liable for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII makes it an unlawful employment practice to discriminate on the basis of sex, race, religion or natural ...

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