For more information please call  800.727.2766


Employee Alleging Continuing Harassment Not Required To Recall Every Detail

An employee alleging continuous age discrimination need not provide evidence of each incident of harassment.
Martina Rivera was hired to work for Medina & Medina when she was 46 years old. Five years into her time there, Ms. Rivera asserted that she was subjected to almost daily abuse about her age by her younger supervisors. She claimed that she was called “vieja” (old in Spanish), and thus was worthless and useless; that she lacked the skills necessary for her job because her age made her “slow”; she should seek social security benefits; and because she was seen as old she should resign before she was forced to leave. Ms. Rivera further claimed that these three male supervisors screamed, yelled, and physically threatened her. She went out on leave and filed a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC. When she returned from her leave, Ms. Rivera alleged that the abuse increased further and she was directly threatened with termination for filing the Charge. Ultimately, Ms. Rivera could not endure the environment and resigned.
A federal district court dismissed Ms. Rivera’s age harassment claim because her allegations were too vague. The First Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. Requiring an employee to produce evidence of every single offensive act, including the exact date, specific individuals, and precise words would likely “create an insurmountable threshold” for individuals alleging harassment. An employee being continuously harassed who can show the type of harassment (including specific incidents and words) were directed at her, as well as the individuals involved, should be able to move forward with her claims. The appellate court further noted that while isolated acts of the nature alleged by Ms. Rivera may not be sufficient to support a claim, the continuous nature of the allegations could be enough for a jury to find in her favor. Ms. Rivera’s retaliation claim will also proceed.