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Burlington Industries v. Ellerth (1998) addressed sexual harassment in the workplace, with the Supreme Court establishing guidelines for employers who hope to make an affirmative defense against such complaints. Specifically, under Burlington, employers must show that they exercised reasonable care in creating and putting policies and procedures into effect along with promptly remedying any sexually harassing behavior; they must also show that employees did not take reasonable steps to use the available procedures to address the situations or otherwise avoid the harms.

Burlington is noteworthy for school systems, because it encourages employers to create, disseminate, and enforce effective policies and procedures against sexual harassment in the workplace insofar as it allows them to escape responsibility for a supervisor's sexually discriminatory actions under certain circumstances.

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