Three women working for a labor union, the National Education Association, sued for gender discrimination claiming that the NEA created a sex-based hostile work environment for them through the conduct of an interim assistant executive director who frequently “screamed” at female employees in a loud and profane manner, with little or no provocation, shook his fists at them, stood behind an employee as she worked, and lunged across the table at another. The conduct was not sexual, nor was it marked by sexual language, gender-specific words, sexual stereotypes, or sexual overtures. While there was evidence that the same director raised his voice with men on occasion, and once frightened a male subordinate, male employees seemed to deal with that abuse with banter, and did not express the same fear of the director, did not cry, become panicked or feel physically threatened, avoid contact with the director, call the police, or ultimately resign, as did one woman.
Now was this harrassment... SURE~! Is this sexual harrasment -NO-. Is this creating a hostile work enviroment... probably.
Because women found the behavior subjectively more intimidating than men did, and reasonable women would do so, the conduct treats women differently. That it may not have been the director’s intent to treat women differently does not matter.
yes folks.... sexual harrasment laws don't need to be sexual, don't need to be directed against member of a protected class, and they don't even need you to intend to do it.