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Decision in 'Friends' Lawsuit Reins in Harassment Claims

Can raunchy discussions of female anatomy and last night's sexual exploits be considered a routine part of the job? A recent California Supreme Court decision suggests they can. In a case that reads like a dirty novel, a former writer's assistant for the hit TV show "Friends" claimed conversations about sex acts and cheerleader fetishes were regular fare for her bosses.

At first blush, this kind of speech and behavior seems to be perfect fodder for a hostile work environment claim. But in its April ruling, the court said that a "creative workplace" in which a free flow of ideas--however crude--is essential to the job can be held to a different standard.

staff Writer

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