I have not followed NFL football for many years, but the recent NFL report about the Miami Dolphins definitely caught my attention. The report, prepared for the NFL by a New York law firm, concluded that Richie Incognito and other Miami Dolphin players inappropriately bullied and harassed offensive lineman Jonathan Martin through improper physical touching and by persistently taunting him with sexually explicit remarks about his mother and sister, and racist and homophobic slurs. Martin abruptly left the Miami Dolphins in 2013.
I do a lot of anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training for management teams. Most of our discussion is focused on how to prevent harassment and offensive behaviors in the workplace. In addition, I often ask the participants to complete a quiz designed to find out how much they know about harassment law. One question asks: True or False Men in male-dominated workplaces usually have to change their behavior when a woman begins working there? The answer, of course, is false, because harassment and offensive, off-color behavior is not appropriate in the workplace regardless of the gender of a company's employees. On occasion, though, training participants think I've asked a trick question and then complain that our harassment laws mean they cannot have fun in the workplace.
The information contained in this post is provided to alert you to legal developments and should not be considered legal advice. It is not intended to and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Specific questions about how this information affects your particular situation should be addressed to one of the individuals listed. No representations or warranties are made with respect to this information, including, without limitation, as to its completeness, timeliness, or accuracy, and Lathrop GPM shall not be liable for any decision made in connection with the information. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.