Not so effective a defense

A federal district court in Tennessee has denied an employer's motion for summary judgment in a sexual harassment case because there was insufficient evidence that the employer had an effective policy to prevent or correct any harassing behavior. The employer's attempt to invoke the Faragher/Ellerth defense failed because there was "no evidence in this record that plaintiff Bishop, defendant Butler, or any other Woodbury employee received any training regarding the company's anti-harassment policy." There was a policy in place, but the lack of training made it insufficient for purposes of summary judgement. Employers must establish the effectiveness of the policy because that is an element of the affirmative defense. This case sends a clear signal that employee and supervisory training may well be essential to the defense.

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