Law360.com quoted Margaret H. Paget, partner in the firm's Litigation Department and chair of the Employment Law Group, in "Same-Sex Harassment Suits May Get Easier to Win" on December 14. Margaret speaks to the challenges of winning a same-sex harassment case and how this may change in light of the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009.
From the article:
"Margaret Paget, a partner with Sherin and Lodgen LLP, said same-sex sexual harassment cases were more difficult for plaintiffs to win than opposite-sex harassment cases because antiquated stereotypes still pervade many courtrooms.
Eventually, however, the standards for proving opposite-sex and same-sex claims would, and should, align, she said.
‘It seems it should be the case that when there's more widespread acceptance of homosexuality in our culture that jurisprudence should follow suit,' Paget said...
The Supreme Court's ruling led lower courts to weigh the motivation of the alleged harasser when considering same-sex sexual harassment claims, which isn't as much of an issue in opposite-sex harassment cases, Paget said.
‘If a woman was sexually harassing me, I have to show somehow that her conduct, no matter how sexual or vulgar, wouldn't have occurred if I was a man. I have to show that the harasser had a sexual agenda toward me. So, in these cases, the harasser's sexual orientation is an issue,' she said...
Some juries and judges view alleged same-sex harassment differently than they would opposite-sex harassment, Paget said.
As an example, Paget pointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit's decision in Corbitt v. Home Depot USA Inc., which she said exemplified the social stereotypes that society holds."