The Eleventh Circuit (which covers Alabama, Florida and Georgia) held late last month that a female employee was subjected to an unlawful hostile work environment on the basis of her sex in part because of "vulgar radio programming" that was played daily in her workplace. Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., No. 07-10270, April 28, 2008.
Reversing the trial court’s grant of summary judgment, the court reasoned that the offensive language in the program (as well as additional offensive workplace banter) had a discriminatory effect on the female plaintiff "because of its degrading nature." If you don’t mind some seriously offensive language of a degrading nature which may have discriminatory effects, read the court’s opinion. (Seriously, it pulls no punches; read at your own risk!)
Employers in all jurisdictions should realize that allowing sexually-charged workplace banter is highly risky. For us employment lawyers, a certain amount of this is a BFOQ, but for the other 99.999% of the American workplaces, clean it up.