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COURT OKs RETALIATORY HARASSMENT THEORY PHILADELPHIA � In a decision that tackles several important issues in sexual harassment law relating to the interrelationship between sex discrimination claims and retaliation claims, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that plaintiffs may sue under a theory of “retaliatory harassment,” and therefore need not show the alleged retaliation they suffered had resulted in a firing or demotion. In its 16-page opinion in Jensen v. Potter, the court also refused to draw a bright line between conduct that is sexually discriminatory and conduct that is retaliatory, finding instead that most such questions hinge on the facts of the case and should therefore be decided first by a jury. The unanimous three-judge panel reversed a decision by U.S. District Judge Richard Conaboy that dismissed a postal worker’s Title VII discrimination and retaliation claims. Judge Samuel Alito wrote the opinion for the court, which was handed down on his final day as a Third Circuit judge. For plaintiffs lawyers, the ruling is a significant win because it makes it harder for defendants to win summary judgment in cases involving allegations of sexual harassment followed by a pattern of alleged retaliation by co-workers after the plaintiff lodged a complaint. � The Legal Intelligencer

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