A federal appeals court panel has issued an opinion that the lawyer for the plaintiffs in the case says virtually eliminates sexual harassment claims in the federal courts for Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

That may be an overstatement. But the dissent of a visiting district court judge from Florida suggests the Dec. 4 opinion of a 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel fails to allow claims over the sort of conduct that reasonable people have come to expect they will be protected from in the workplace. The panel ruled that two former male Home Depot employees do not have a sexual harassment claim against the company (pdf) despite evidence that a male manager made comments suggesting he was sexually attracted to them and touched them in arguably inappropriate ways.

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