Is the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals going to reverse its decision in the controversial case of Corbitt v. Home Depot?
Last August I reported on this decision by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Florida, Georgia and Alabama), in which the court analyzed the claims of two former Home Depot employees who claimed their male supervisor repeatedly subjected them to unwanted flirtatious compliments and sexual touchings. The plaintiffs alleged that the supervisor made such comments as "your hair is beautiful," and "I like your green eyes" and touched the plaintiffs in a sexual way on several occasions. He even allegedly told one of the employees, “I know you’re not gay, but you’ve probably thought about it, I could show you how, I know you’ll like it." The court held that under the totality of the circumstances, the supervisor's conduct was not sufficiently severe or pervasive to constitute sexual harassment under Title VII.
In December the court issued a revised opinion that reached the same result on the plaintiffs' sexual harassment claims.
Today, however, the court vacated its December opinion and announced that the case will be reheard en banc, i.e. by the whole court rather than a three-judge panel. This is a significant development that may portend a reversal of the holding in Corbitt and a change in the law on sexual harassment in the Eleventh Circuit. Stay tuned.