By: Eva Zelson
On: August 31, 2023
The case against Grammy-award winning singer Lizzo has been a hot topic in recent pop culture news; The artist is being sued for alleged harassment and creating a hostile work environment. Three of her former dancers came forward with accusations that include sexual harassment, religious discrimination, and weight shaming. Lizzo has denied these claims.
What do the Victims Allege in the Hostile Work Environment Case Filed by Former Dancers Employed by Lizzo?
The former dancers filed a total of nine charges against Lizzo, her production company, and the dance captain. During a span of two years, the dancers allege that they experienced weight shaming, were forced to endure sexual denigrating behavior, were preached to about sexuality and Christianity, and were pressured into participating in disturbing sex shows, according to a statement from the plaintiffs’ lawyers. The lawsuit also claims that Lizzo and members of her team further created an unbearable and hostile work environment by frequently sharing lewd fantasies of sexual encounters, exposing the dancers to nudity against their will, and forcing them to touch nude performers, and pressuring the dancers to engage in a nude photoshoot. Lizzo’s management company is also being accused of discriminating against the Black members of the dance team in both pay and treatment.
What is Lizzo’s Response to the Allegations?
Lizzo has come forward to deny the hostile work environment allegations and has posted a statement to her social media pages in her defense. In her statement, Lizzo said the accusations are “sensationalized stories” from former employees who acted unprofessionally on tour. She added that the former dancers have admitted publicly that their behavior on tour was “inappropriate and unprofessional.” Having had her own experiences with body shaming, Lizzo also emphasized that advocating for women and body positivity is something she takes very seriously. With that, she further denies criticizing or firing an employee because of their weight.
What Qualifies as a Hostile Work Environment?
Hostile work environments can be identified when an employee is subjected to discriminatory treatment, harassment, or retaliation in the workplace. The behavior is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive work environment. This experience can lead to psychological and emotional distress for employees who have been subjected to such behavior. Since this type of harassment involves subjective interpretation of events, it can be difficult to prove. However, there are specific circumstances that employees must be mindful of to recognize a hostile work environment.
- Harassment or discrimination based on a protected characteristic
- Severe and pervasive harassment
- The employer failed to take corrective action
Although this might be difficult to prove, employees can still take action by gathering evidence to help prove their case.
What Evidence is Needed to Prove You Are In a Hostile Work Environment?
In order to prove you are experiencing a hostile work environment, you must do your diligence to gather evidence. This includes email transactions that demonstrate discriminatory, offensive or harassing language. In addition, to prove your hostile work environment case, gather a list of witnesses to corroborate the hostile behavior. Maintaining a detailed and thorough paper trail, along with a list of reliable witnesses, will work in your favor and can warrant legal action.
Is It Difficult To Win a Hostile Work Environment Case In Court?
Hostile work environment cases are known to be difficult to prove in court because some of the evidence can be considered hearsay. However, harassment in the workplace is illegal if the remarks are verbally abusive or severely offensive. The judge overseeing the case will ask for proof that the person involved was severely impacted or offended. Conversely, the case can be dismissed if the court determines that the circumstances of the situation are questionable, and the plaintiff was overly sensitive.
Contact Zeff Law Firm If You Have Experienced A Hostile Work Environment
Facing a hostile work environment is an unfortunate reality that many employees experience. It’s best to bring these issues to light when being on the receiving end of offensive, discriminating, and harassing treatment from an employer or co-worker. Seek legal representation from a team of professionals that specialize in hostile work environments and can take action to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions. The experienced employment lawyers at Zeff Law Firm offer these legal services and work to protect the rights and personal freedoms of their clients.