Supreme Court makes revives notion of same-sex harrassment

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sexual harassment at work can be illegal even when the offender and victim are the same sex, the Supreme Court said Wednesday in a decision that could touch virtually every American workplace.
In voting unanimously to revive a Louisiana lawsuit that has been closely watched by the nation’s employers and gay-rights groups, the court said same-sex harassment can violate a federal anti-discrimination law.
In that lawsuit, a man alleged he was sexually harassed by three other men while working on a Gulf of Mexico oil rig.
Wednesday’s decision provided important new guidelines for resolving sex-harassment claims, but plenty of questions remain about the legality of certain conduct in specific employment settings.
“Common sense and an appropriate sensitivity to social context will enable courts and juries to distinguish” between what is legal and illegal, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the court.
The ruling allows victims of homosexual harassment to get into federal court even though Congress never has said bias based on sexual orientation is illegal.