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A supervisor’s favoritism of his/her girlfriend or boyfriend can support a claim for a hostile work environment

Courts have acknowledged that when supervisors give preferential treatment to their paramours, other employees can use this evidence to support a claim of a harassing work environment.  For example, if the supervisor gives his or her girlfriend or boyfriend better work assignments, salary, or benefits, this can be used as proof of a hostile work environment.

The cases stress that the plaintiff need not be the object of sexually hostile behavior or sexual advances. What is important is that the plaintiff is aware of conduct, relationships or incidents that, for him or her, create a hostile or offensive working environment and undermine the ability to perform his/her job.  The supervisor’s favoritism may also substantiate a claim for gender bias.

Pamela A. Smith
Law Office of Pamela A. Smith
233 Needham Street, Suite 540
Newton, MA 02464


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