Should you be able to sue your employer because your co-workers listen to raunchy radio programs? The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide says you should, under the dubious theory that it is “sexual harassment” that’s “based on” your sex. U.C.L.A. Law Professor Eugene Volokh criticizes the decision on First Amendment grounds, while I criticize the decision as being inconsistent with the language of the discrimination laws and the Eleventh Circuit’s own past rulings, and a threat to the media and freedom of the press in the long run.
Courts frequently engage in flagrantly inconsistent legal reasoning in order to first impose liability on employers and then maximize and collect damages in sexual harassment cases, and they often disregard the statutory requirements that harassment plaintiffs seeking compensatory damages show that they were harassed based on their sex, and subjected to intentional discrimination.
I don’t like raunchy radio programs, but that doesn’t mean the government should ban listening to them, much less do so under the weak argument that they constitute sex discrimination.