Campbell v. State of Hawaii Dep’t of Educ., 892 F.3d 1005 (9th Cir. 2018)

Patricia Campbell was employed by the Hawaii Department of Education (“DOE”) for nine years until she resigned because she was allegedly harassed and degraded by students on the basis of her race (white) and her sex. She alleges that students called her offensive names (including “f*cking haole”) and that she was physically threatened by one student who claimed to have a gun. Before she resigned, Campbell requested transfers to other schools and took a 12-month unpaid leave of absence. The district court granted summary judgment against Campbell on her claims for disparate treatment, hostile work environment and retaliation under Title VII and sex discrimination under Title IX. The Ninth Circuit affirmed dismissal of Campbell’s claims, holding that there was no evidence that she suffered an adverse employment action that materially affected the terms or conditions of her employment or that any similarly situated employees of a different race or sex were treated more favorably than Campbell was. With respect to the alleged hostile environment, the Court held that once the DOE learned of the students’ alleged harassment of Campbell, “the DOE did quite a lot in response” and that the alleged harassment from school officials was not sufficiently severe or pervasive enough to be actionable. Similarly, there was insufficient evidence to support either her retaliation or sex discrimination claims.