Image of Can a single incident of harassment suffice to establish liability?

Can a single incident of harassment suffice to establish liability?


Yes, a single act of severe harassment can be actionable in certain, limited circumstances.  Examples include:

  • female supervisor grabbed waiter’s penis through his pockets;
  • use of racial epithet such as “ni[**]er”;
  • deliberate and unwanted touching of plaintiff’s intimate body parts (for example, where a supervisor shoved employee’s face against his crotch); and
  • an extended barrage of obscene verbal abuse.

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Jason Zuckerman, Principal of Zuckerman Law, litigates whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, wrongful discharge, and other employment-related claims. He is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” in 2015 and selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® and in SuperLawyers.

Eric Bachman litigates employment discrimination and whistleblower retaliation cases. He can be reached at (202) 769-1681 and Bachman is Chair of the discrimination and retaliation Practices at Zuckerman Law. Previously, Bachman served as Special Litigation Counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and a Deputy Special Counsel with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.