Haberman v. Cengage


Alicia Haberman was employed by Cengage as a text book sales representative. After she was placed in a “performance improvement program” following consecutive years of failing to meet her sales goals, Haberman sued Cengage, her former supervisor (Reed), and Cengage’s national manager (Bredenberg) for sexual harassment under FEHA and other causes of action.

The trial court granted summary judgment for defendants, finding that the alleged acts of harassment did not rise to the level of establishing a hostile work environment as a matter of law. Haberman appealed.


Affirmed. The hostile work environment form of sexual harassment is actionable only when the harassment is pervasive or severe. There is no recovery for harassment that is occasional, isolated, sporadic, or trivial. Here, the conduct alleged by Haberman occurred over an extended period and consisted of a few isolated comments and mild innuendos. Plaintiff did not show a concerted pattern of harassment of a repeated, routine or generalized nature. As a matter of law, the conduct alleged by plaintiff did not constitute a hostile work environment.