The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (which includes Arizona) recently ruled that offensive music in the workplace can be considered auditory harassment and provide a basis for a hostile work environment claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employment law partner Jill Chasson explained the case and the importance of the appellate court’s decision in an article for HR Laws.

The case involved a warehouse in Nevada where managers and employees continued playing sexually graphic, violent, and misogynistic music despite two years of complaints from both female and male employees. Jill explained that in reviving the case after the trial court dismissed it, the Ninth Circuit confirmed that employers can’t avoid liability by asserting an “equal opportunity harasser” defense. She also reminded employers that they have an obligation to investigate complaints of harassing conduct promptly and take remedial action designed to stop the conduct.

Well-versed in the many federal and state laws that govern the workplace, Jill regularly works with employers to develop key policies, resolve difficult personnel issues, and provide guidance regarding legal compliance and risk management. When disputes arise, she represents employers before administrative agencies, in arbitration proceedings, and court litigation regarding a variety of employment-related claims.

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