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‘Equal Opportunity Harasser’ Defense Dealt Blow by High Court

June 19, 2020, 2:01 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court dismantled the legal theory that excuses gender-based discrimination if it targets both male and female employees, according to some interpretations of its ruling against bias toward LGBT workers.

Circuit courts have been divided on the “equal opportunity harasser defense,” which protects employers from liability for harassment against both men and women because it isn’t “because of sex.” But the high court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County this week said sex-based bias isn’t legal even if it’s aimed at more than one gender.

“The Supreme Court’s language in Bostock should eviscerate the equal opportunity harasser defense,” ...

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