According to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, music that is degrading toward women played at the workplace may constitute sexual harassment.
The court ruling was in response to a lawsuit against a clothing manufacturer in which plaintiffs complained that the misogynistic music “blasted” throughout the manufacturer’s warehouse was offensive. The ruling raises questions about what music is appropriate for the workplace.
The suit alleges that S&S Activewear permitted its managers and employees to routinely play “sexually graphic, violently misogynistic” music throughout its 700,000-square-foot warehouse in Reno, Nevada. The eight plaintiffs were offended by songs that used offensive terms like “hoes” and “bi–hes” and contained themes that denigrated women.
The complaint mentions iconic song “Stan” by Eminem from his 2000 blockbuster album, The Marshall Mathers LP, which they allege, “described extreme violence against women, detailing a pregnant woman being stuffed into a car trunk and driven into water to be drowned.”
The plaintiffs also mentioned music by rapper Too $hort. Despite their frequent complaints regarding the music, the plaintiffs claim that warehouse management maintained that the songs were “motivational.”
The judge initially dismissed the case in a federal district court. However, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned that decision this month, citing other cases which found “the use of sexually degrading, gender-specific epithets, such as ‘slut,’ ‘cunt,’ ‘whore,’ and ‘b–ch,’ has been consistently held to constitute harassment based upon sex.” Eminem has countless songs that include those words.
For more details, visit Forbes here.