Total Articles: 73
Fisher Phillips • January 29, 2020
Employers paid out a record $68.2 million to those alleging sexual harassment violations through the EEOC in 2019, shattering the all-time record by over $10 million and reminding us all that the #MeToo movement continues to be a major influence on workplaces across the country. This is just one of many interesting findings released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in its annual data summary covering fiscal year 2019 (which wrapped up in September). The January 24 release is full of eye-opening statistics that could help you set your compliance priorities for 2020 and beyond. Here are 10 thought-provoking takeaways from the EEOC’s annual summary.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 15, 2019
As fiscal year 2019 ends for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it has announced it is pursuing several new discrimination suits, including one alleging a casino failed to protect female staffers from sexual harassment by patrons.
Ogletree Deakins • July 16, 2019
In the second episode of Employment Law Legends, Paul Rinnan discusses Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson and the legal movement to define sexual harassment in the workplace.
Franczek Radelet P.C • June 14, 2019
Over the last few days, we’ve been sending you updates on the key provisions of SB75, the anti-harassment legislation awaiting approval by Governor Pritzker. Previously, we wrote about the Workplace Transparency Act. In this alert, we focus on another new law created by SB75, the Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act. This new law, once it takes effect, will require hotel and casino employers to (1) provide “panic button” devices to certain employees; and (2) implement a sexual harassment policy including certain provisions detailed in the law. If this sounds familiar to Chicago employers, it should, as it generally mirrors the requirements of a Chicago ordinance enacted in 2017.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • May 16, 2019
As workplace laws continue to evolve, the potential risk exposure is increasing. Jackson Lewis prepared this trends overview to help assess the current workplace law landscape in the #MeToo era and the wave of agency charges, latest claims, and new laws.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • May 13, 2019
Much has been written lately about the #MeToo movement and its presence in workplaces as diverse as universities, movie and TV studios. Hospitals are no exception. Savvy employers know that hospitals—large facilities that employ people of all educational backgrounds, races, religions, sexual orientations, ages, and more—can be ground zero for sexual harassment at any time.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 21, 2019
Before “#MeToo” became a movement, it was a well-known, damaging type of evidence to employers litigating discrimination claims. “Me too” in the employment litigation context refers to evidence that employees other than the plaintiff also were also discriminated against. Employers had traditionally sought, with mixed results, to exclude such evidence as improper character evidence under FRE 404(b) or as substantially more prejudicial than probative under FRE 403. Debate raged over admissibility. In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court tackled the issue and held that “me too” evidence is not per se admissible or inadmissible. See Sprint/United Mgmt. Co. v. Mendelsohn, 552 U.S. 379, 388 (2008). Rather, the Court found, admissibility depends on a fact-intensive inquiry.
Fisher Phillips • April 14, 2019
Despite a 10 percent overall drop in the number of charges of employment discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission just reported that sexual harassment charges filed with the agency jumped by 13.6 percent from the previous year. The 7,609 sexual harassment charges received in FY clearly demonstrate that the #MeToo movement is in no way slowing down. What do employers need to know about this development?
Jackson Lewis P.C. • February 15, 2019
Employers may be liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act for failing to effectively address and stop gossip and rumors of an alleged sexual relationship between a female employee and a male supervisor, the federal appeals court in Richmond has held. Parker v. Reema Consulting Servs., No. 18-1206 (4th Cir. Feb. 8, 2019).
Jackson Lewis P.C. • February 06, 2019
Speakers at the 2019 American Health Lawyers Association’s Physicians and Hospitals Law Institute repeatedly emphasized the importance of a coordinated approach to preventing harassment in hospitals.
Ogletree Deakins • December 31, 2018
In the year since the #MeToo movement took off in the wake of the exposé in The New York Times on Harvey Weinstein that shook the entertainment world, emboldened women (and men) have come forward to shine a light on sexual harassment in other sectors of the workforce. In the tech and media industries, allegations of sex discrimination and sexual harassment have led to the resignations, and in some cases terminations, of prominent figures, including Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and National Public Radio (NPR) Chief News Editor David Sweeney. In fact, a recent New York Times analysis found that since that exposé was published, at least 200 prominent men have lost their jobs following public allegations of sexual harassment.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • December 28, 2018
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the ranking Democrat on the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions – the committee with oversight of federal anti-discrimination law – has released recommendations for legislative action to combat unlawful workplace harassment. While most of these recommendations are unlikely to see legislative action in the next Congress, they clearly lay out a blueprint of where Senate Democrats (and House Democrats, who will hold the majority in the lower chamber of Congress come January) are likely to focus attention on issues relating to workplace harassment and the continued #MeToo movement.
Ogletree Deakins • October 15, 2018
Join Milwaukee attorneys Sarah Platt and Christine Bestor Townsend as they discuss how things have changed for employers in the era of #MeToo.
Ogletree Deakins • October 15, 2018
One year ago today, 10 days after the Harvey Weinstein story broke, Alyssa Milano tweeted: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 02, 2018
Accusations of harassment against Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Bill Cosby and now even Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, among many others, over the past year underscore one thing: No one, whether he or she is a prominent politician, corporate CEO, judge, famous entertainer, ambassador or consul general, is immune from the adverse publicity, if not liability, that follows once harassment claims are made.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 30, 2018
Following a February 2018 Sports Illustrated article regarding alleged sexual harassment and misconduct within Dallas Basketball Limited, the Dallas Mavericks basketball organization (“Mavericks”), the Mavericks commissioned an independent investigation into the claims. The investigators, comprised of two outside law firms, interviewed 215 witnesses and analyzed 1.6 million documents. The investigation report was publicly released on September 19, 2018.
Fisher Phillips • August 30, 2018
In the latest sign of an increased emphasis on harassment, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced filing seven lawsuits against various employers charging them with harassment. Five of these claims involved alleged sexual harassment, two alleged racial harassment, and one also included a claim of harassment based on national origin.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 06, 2018
Congress recently passed the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act which includes Internal Revenue Code §162(q). Specifically
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • July 29, 2018
Imagine that your employee comes to you and tells you that a few days ago when she was helping a busboy change out the kegs in the basement, he groped her.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • July 22, 2018
On July 17, 2018, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers—Reps. Lois Frankel (D-FL), Ted Poe (R-TX), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Barbara Comstock (R-VA), and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) —introduced legislation targeting workplace harassment. Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced a companion bill in the Senate last month. The Ending the Monopoly of Power Over Workplace harassment through Education and Reporting (EMPOWER) Act (H.R. 6406, S. 2994) would, among other obligations, ban nondisclosure and non-disparagement agreements related to harassment as a condition of employment or receipt of employment-related benefits, and would require certain public disclosures. This federal bill comes on the heels of several state-level proposals stemming from the #MeToo movement.
Nexsen Pruet • July 18, 2018
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sometimes chooses to file a lawsuit against an employer, on an employee’s behalf, after investigation of a charge of discrimination. Typically, the EEOC chooses to litigate only a very small percentage of all charges filed. In this past June alone, however, the commission filed eight lawsuits alleging sexual harassment against employers, thus perpetuating the #MeToo movement.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • July 16, 2018
The news that Harvey Weinstein was indicted on July 2 on additional criminal charges, one of which (predatory sexual assault) carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, makes clear that the #MeToo movement and its influence on the workplace and our culture will not abate any time soon.
Ogletree Deakins • July 10, 2018
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion in Minarsky v. Susquehanna County, No. 17-2646 (July 3, 2018). The decision, which vacated the entry of summary judgment in favor of an employer that had asserted the Faragher-Ellerth defense to a sexual harassment claim based upon a hostile work environment, provides some important lessons for employers.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • June 20, 2018
Jennifer Youpa, a shareholder in Littler’s Dallas office, and Kevin O’Neill, Senior Director of Littler’s Learning Group, discuss the importance of harassment complaint investigations in the #MeToo climate. As Jennifer and Kevin explain, investigatory responses can no longer be “one size fits all,” especially with the possibility of the viral disclosure of allegations or incidents through social media. In this podcast, Jennifer and Kevin reveal strategies and trends they have seen as they conduct training for employers on sexual harassment and related issues. They address the need for employers to plan various investigatory protocols well ahead of any complaints and how organizations can assess whether an external investigator may be beneficial.
Goldberg Segalla LLP • June 18, 2018
Since the #MeToo movement began in fall 2017, many have wondered how it will affect both the volume and direction of sexual misconduct litigation around the country. It seems that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is trying to determine the same — indicated both through the commission's recent statements analyzing its own workload and by the reconvening of the Obama-era Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • June 12, 2018
Yesterday’s anti-harassment training won’t cut it in the #MeToo era. Employers must take stock of steps they have taken to prevent and stop sexual harassment in the workplace, and identify how they will answer the clear call for truly effective anti-harassment training.
FordHarrison LLP • May 22, 2018
Executive Summary: A proposed new law called “Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment in Transportation Act” takes aim at sexual assault and harassment in the airline industry.
Ogletree Deakins • March 19, 2018
As many employers are attempting to navigate the #MeToo movement and cultural changes surrounding sexual harassment claims, they now face another legal issue on the harassment horizon: how to address harassment allegations involving wordless communications—namely, emojis. Workplace harassment claims regarding emojis are increasing at a significant rate and leaving employers scratching their heads.
Fisher Phillips • February 13, 2018
A unanimous block of attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, not to mention several U.S. territories, sent a letter to Congress yesterday asking federal lawmakers to prohibit the use of mandatory arbitration agreements when it comes to claims of sexual harassment. If Congress responds by passing legislation as requested, employers would need to adjust to a new reality that would have significant implications on human resources practices and employment litigation.
Ogletree Deakins • February 12, 2018
It’s Valentine’s Day yet again, but this year the climate is different for employers. Between the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, and the near-daily collapse of famous and powerful men (and some women) due to allegations of sexual harassment, employers are on high alert for any sign that sexual misconduct could be going on underneath their noses. While the holiday season usually brings the most challenges for human resources professionals trying to ensure holiday parties do not get out of hand and religious accommodation issues are properly handled, another holiday causes heartburn for many: Valentine’s Day.
Fisher Phillips • February 11, 2018
Christine Howard’s article “Workplace Sexual Harassment: More HR Guidance Needed” was featured in Risk Management Monitor. Smart employers are planning and training now to reduce sexual harassment to mitigate risk, and therefore, potential damage claims affecting executives and employees across employer ranks.
Fisher Phillips • January 30, 2018
Last week was a big week when it comes to shining the spotlight on sexual harassment in the gig economy arena. On Thursday, Nathan Heller wrote a piece for the New Yorker that garnered a lot of attention entitled, “The Gig Economy Is Especially Susceptible to Sexual Harassment.”
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • January 23, 2018
Bruce Sarchet and Corinn Jackson, both with Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute, discuss how the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affects the terms of settlement agreements used for sexual harassment claims. They address how the new law alters business expense tax deductions related to such settlements. They also review several additional federal and state initiatives that would curtail the use of nondisclosure or arbitration agreements in the harassment context.
FordHarrison LLP • January 09, 2018
You have probably heard about the many tax deductions that you are losing (or have lost) as a result of the new tax law (known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or TCJA). But, if you are an employer, one that you may not have heard about – or may not have had reason to hear about – is loss of the Federal income tax deduction for amounts paid in settlement of claims relating to sexual harassment and/or sexual abuse, as well as attorneys’ fees paid with respect to any such settlement or payment, if the settlement or payment is subject to a nondisclosure agreement.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • January 09, 2018
It’s 2018, but the sexual harassment scandals and #MeToo movement that closed out 2017 are sure to shape the year – and years – ahead. From Hollywood Boulevard to Main Street, USA, no industry has been spared. But for all the turmoil that business leaders are either witnessing or enduring, they may have an opportunity to seize this moment and establish a dramatically new normal.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • January 09, 2018
In 2017, the #MeToo movement highlighted the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace, toppling prominent figures in numerous fields. Sexual harassment has been unlawful for decades, of course, yet this vexing problem remains.1 In the wake of #MeToo, federal and state lawmakers are searching for new ways to complement existing antidiscrimination laws and help eliminate harassment. Although it may take several months for definite trends to solidify, this article identifies some legislative approaches we may see in 2018.
Nexsen Pruet • January 04, 2018
The tax law signed by President Trump on December 22, 2017, does not only change tax brackets and rates—it also reflects changes brought in the aftermath of many highly publicized sexual harassment scandals. Effective upon signing, the new tax law has eliminated businesses’ ability to deduct the costs to settle allegations of sexual harassment or sexual abuse when the settlement requires confidentiality, which is a standard settlement term.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • December 07, 2017
The 2017 tsunami of high-profile sex harassment allegations against politicians, entertainers and news reporters has employers rethinking their approach to eradicating workplace harassment. And this issue is global—the news stories splash across media outlets worldwide and the conversation is everywhere.
Nexsen Pruet • November 29, 2017
From Hollywood to Capitol Hill, sexual harassment in the workplace has taken the media – and the country – by storm. While harassment in the workplace is not a new topic, the recent surge of claims has put an intense spotlight on the issue. For employers, there is much to learn from the scrutiny. That is why the final webinar in Nexsen Pruet’s 2017 “Building Workplaces That Win” certificate webinar series, to be held on Dec. 13, 2017, will focus on “Preventing Harassment and Retaliation Claims.”
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • November 29, 2017
Unlawful sexual harassment, long a problem in the workplace, has become the most visible employment issue in corporate America. Victims of sexual harassment are emboldened to speak up, as they should. In turn—and in remarkable numbers—business leaders in many industries are being called out for alleged bad behavior and forced to step down. The resulting emotional turmoil, business disruption, and injury to personal reputations are causing significant damage to businesses, internally and externally, and to many individuals involved.
Ogletree Deakins • November 17, 2017
The reports of women who went on the record to accuse Hollywood businessman Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other abuses, evoked the following recent Twitter message by Alyssa Milano: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” This call to action led thousands to step forward and tell their stories as the #MeToo movement—a campaign started approximately 10 years ago by activist Tarana Burke—gathered momentum and focused the public’s attention on the issue of sexual harassment and sex discrimination.
Franczek Radelet P.C • November 12, 2017
Harvey Weinstein. Bill O’Reilly. Kevin Spacey. The rapid pace of sexual harassment allegations against high-profile figures in recent weeks could make an observer think that sexual harassment is an issue confined to the entertainment industry, the media, sports, and politics.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • November 12, 2017
In a November 5, 2017, article, The New York Times harkened back to the 1977 Ms. magazine cover depicting sexual harassment on its cover. The point was to illustrate the fact that the 1977 Ms. cover is just as relevant today as it was then.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • November 07, 2017
Sexual harassment claims are not new. In this video insight, Helene Wasserman and Corinn Jackson discuss what employers need to know about creating a harassment-free workplace and what to do when sexual harassment claims are made.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • November 07, 2017
Dear Littler: I work in HR and have a very modern-day dilemma. An employee (Lauren) told me about a social media post by another employee (Jane). I don’t follow Jane on social media, but a few days ago she posted this message: #MeToo. My boss is a total jerk. Lauren showed me the message on her phone and asked if I knew anything about it. I’ve heard about the #MeToo movement but don’t know what to make of this post. Is this a harassment complaint? Do I need to do anything?
Nexsen Pruet • November 01, 2017
If ever there were a time of reckoning for sexual harassment, it certainly seems that time has come. Allegations of such harassment have led to career altering consequences for several high-powered figures—Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and Harvey Weinstein, to name a few.
Ogletree Deakins • October 31, 2017
Print, air waves, and social media have all been filled with stories of women accusing Harvey Weinstein of grossly inappropriate (if not, criminal) behavior over a long period of time. There is much discussion of who knew what and whether others enabled his alleged behavior. With the flood of allegations against Weinstein have come other allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior of other powerful men in multiple industries. During this controversy, the #MeToo campaign went viral with women bringing to light whether they too had faced sexual harassment.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 27, 2017
In this podcast, Helene Wasserman, co-chair of Littler’s Jury Trial and Litigation Practice Group, discusses how Human Resources personnel should respond if presented with harassment allegations – particularly if those complaints are lodged against high-ranking leadership. She addresses why workers often don’t speak up about harassment and how this trend may shift in light of charges swirling around high-profile players in numerous industries. Helene reviews critical “do’s and don’ts” for HR professionals handling harassment allegations, which can help protect all employees as well as the organization.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 20, 2017
You don’t need to be a cable news network, a Hollywood production company, a media mogul or a politician in order to feel the ripple effect from the recent wave of workplace sexual harassment claims. While such harassment claims might not always make the nightly news, they are nothing new and they impact every sector of employment. With the current flurry of high-profile harassment claims attracting media attention regardless of the industry, employers should prepare for an increase in claims.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 12, 2017
Despite “substantial evidence” supporting a jury’s verdict, a judge may weigh the evidence and set aside the verdict if it is contrary to the clear weight of the evidence. Federal Judge Richard A. Jones did just that in EEOC v. Trans Ocean Seafoods, Inc., No. 15-cv-01563 (W.D. Wash. Sept. 8, 2017). He granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a new trial under FRCP 59(a).
Ogletree Deakins • October 12, 2017
In part one, of this blog series on responding to charges brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), I described some situations that pose an increased risk of a systemic harassment investigation by the EEOC in response to an individual harassment charge. Usually, when responding to the EEOC, employers can provide a precise and limited response that includes only the most essential supporting documents. But when the risk of a systemic investigation arises, an employer’s response may need to be more comprehensive to show that the individual’s charge lacks merit and that the company has an effective harassment prevention program in place.
FordHarrison LLP • October 10, 2017
Executive Summary: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) and its corresponding regulations prohibit sex discrimination in education programs or activities conducted by educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance. It is well-settled that sexual harassment which creates a hostile environment constitutes sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. On September 22, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which enforces Title IX, issued a “Dear Colleague” letter and new Q&A on Campus Misconduct. The Dear Colleague letter explains that OCR’s prior letter dated April 4, 2011 and Q&A guidance dated April 29, 2014 (issued during the Obama administration) have both been withdrawn. OCR cited criticism as to the fairness of the prior guidance as part of the reason for issuing the new guidance.
Ogletree Deakins • October 10, 2017
In the third video of our four-part series, international practitioners Diana Nehro and Bonnie Puckett return to cover anti-discrimination and anti-harassment rules around the world. Play the video below for a succinct discussion of the top challenges for in-house counsel implementing anti-harassment measures abroad. Diana and Bonnie also share their top five recommended steps for U.S.-based in-house counsel to take in order to reconcile their desire for an inclusive, tolerant culture with other countries’ laws that may conflict.
Nexsen Pruet • June 14, 2017
As an employment attorney and litigator, I have found this story interesting to follow. Following a former employee's critical blog post accusing Uber of sexual harassment and gender bias, Uber's Board hired Eric Holder and his law partner at the law firm of Covington & Burling, LLP to conduct an investigation of the work place environment. According to Uber’s Statement of Tuesday, June 13, the Board adopted Covington's recommendations (published here). Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced on Tuesday that he was taking a leave of absence to reflect on changes needed in the leadership team.
Goldberg Segalla LLP • May 05, 2017
The recent departures of high-profile executives and the flurry of harassment lawsuits provide plenty of teaching moments for employers.
Fisher Phillips • April 20, 2017
Whenever the topic of sexual harassment reaches mainstream media outlets, people are bound to take notice. And when sexual harassment allegations involving a prominent public figure like Bill O’Reilly appear in the headlines of just about every major national and local media source, your employees are undoubtedly aware.
Ogletree Deakins • April 10, 2017
The 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may have expanded the mechanisms available for individuals who plan to bring claims of sexual harassment or discrimination against an employer that conducts educational programs or activities, specifically including private teaching hospitals.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 28, 2017
Jackson Lewis has submitted comments to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on the Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment. The Proposed Guidance sets out to define what constitutes harassment, examine when a basis for employer liability exists if harassment is proven, and offer suggestions for preventive practices. (For more, see our article, New Proposed Anti-Harassment Guidance Addresses Many Issues.)
Fisher Phillips • February 27, 2017
Perhaps it’s not surprising that a circuit that for years has held that staring can constitute sexual harassment would find that excessive hugging may be illegal, too. The Ninth Circuit (which covers California and other western states) in Zetwick v. County of Yolo, held that it is for a jury to decide whether a male county sheriff’s hugging of a female correctional officer amounted to unlawful harassment.
Nexsen Pruet • February 09, 2017
The EEOC enforces various federal laws designed to protect individuals from harassment based upon protected categories such as race, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetic information. The EEOC’s proposed guidance explains the legal standards applicable to claims of unlawful harassment under the federal employment discrimination laws.
Fisher Phillips • February 08, 2017
Many people watch the Super Bowl for the game. Others watch for the commercials. And perhaps even more watch for both. In years past, it would not have been uncommon for people to spend the Monday after the Super Bowl at the water cooler talking about the commercials with Clydesdales, puppies, talking frogs, or celebrities. But this year, and perhaps more so than any other year in recent memory, there were numerous ads that carried or otherwise promoted political and social messages.
Ogletree Deakins • February 03, 2017
In its Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment issued on January 10, 2017, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) emphasizes that employers should take a proactive role in preventing harassment, as well as in effectively identifying and eradicating harassment if and when it occurs. Public comments on the proposed enforcement guidance will be invited until February 9, 2017.
Ogletree Deakins • September 29, 2016
In an interview last month, the 2016 Republican presidential nominee stated that if his daughter were sexually harassed, he “would like to think she would find another career or find another company.” His son later stated that because his sister was “a strong, powerful woman[, s]he wouldn’t let herself be, you know, subjected to [sexual harassment].” Both comments have sparked a backlash that has once again brought the issue of sexual harassment to the fore.
Ogletree Deakins • July 31, 2016
Maintaining a company anti-harassment policy on a bulletin board and website is not enough to avoid liability for sexual discrimination according to a recent decision. On July 20, 2016, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals revived a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a school board’s clerical employee who alleged inappropriate comments and touching from a manager. While the board’s policy manual contained reasonable policy and complaint procedures to prevent harassment, the court found evidence the board made insufficient efforts to train the alleged harasser and other employees about such policies. This case clarifies the scope of an important affirmative defense for employers and demonstrates the importance of clearly explaining policies to employees. Pullen v. Caddo Parish School Board, No. 15-30871, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (July 20, 2016).
Nexsen Pruet • June 25, 2015
Last month, in Boyer-Liberto v. Fontainebleau Corp., No. 13-1473 (4th Cir. May 7, 2015), the federal Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which includes North and South Carolina, articulated a new standard for analyzing claims of hostile work environment and retaliation under Title VII. For employers, the new standard may prove challenging in some respects but may also serve as a call to action.
Goldberg Segalla LLP • May 18, 2015
Retaliation and harassment are the most commonly filed employment law claims nationwide. After the Fourth Circuit’s recent decision in Boyer-Liberto v. Fountainbleau Corp., No. 13-1473 (4th Cir. May 7, 2015) lawsuits alleging hostile work environment and harassment will only be more difficult for employers to dispose of. The Fourth Circuit held that a single instance of harassment may create an actionable hostile work environment claim, and that an employee can be protected from retaliation when complaining about harassment, even if the purported harassment is ultimately not severe enough to create a hostile work environment.
Fisher Phillips • March 31, 2014
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that sexual harassment claims continue to be a serious issue, with 7,256 new charges filed in FY 2013. Although that number has decreased in recent years, the awards in sexual harassment lawsuits continue to climb.
Ogletree Deakins • November 20, 2013
There is no crying in football, but is there harassment?
Goldberg Segalla LLP • October 16, 2013
The topic of unpaid interns has generated a lot of buzz in the employment law world after a flurry of recent lawsuits in which interns sought repayment under the Fair Labor Standards Act. (Our Professional Liability Matters blog discussed the issue in posts on June 25 and July 9.) However, an October 3 decision from the Southern District of New York has taken the topic into a new direction: sexual harassment. The result? The court ruled that unpaid interns cannot sue for sexual harassment under New York City municipal civil rights laws.
Fisher Phillips • August 01, 2013
In recent years, many high-profile workplace-harassment lawsuits have grabbed headlines, complete with lewd and salacious allegations. Sexual harassment is indeed a form of gender discrimination and courts have issued many important opinions in handling these cases. But for both practical and legal reasons, it would be a big mistake to focus your workplace “no-harassment” efforts strictly upon sexual harassment.
Fisher Phillips • July 25, 2011
Some employers mistakenly believe that harassment was a problem in the 1990's and supervisors and employees now know better. They are wrong. Contrary to popular belief, harassment is not a thing of the past â€“ and the evidence shows that some employees don't know better.
Fisher Phillips • April 15, 2010
The back-story behind the attempted extortion of David Letterman features behavior of the sort that keeps legal counsel and compliance officers awake at night. Admitted extortionist, Joe Halderman, crafted a story that depicts Letterman, the Worldwide Pants, Inc. Chairman, as head of an organization with a culture that fosters workplace sexual misconduct and career advancement tied to sexual relationships. Notwithstanding the veracity of Halderman's story, it presents the quintessential case of poor management behavior that puts any company at risk. The behavior of top management can foster an organizational culture acceptant of a hostile working environment, setting the stage for liability that is anything but funny. Building an effective compliance program and culture within your organization prevents your late show from developing into a veritable horror show. In light of the potential consequences, reigning in executive management may be the smartest trick of all.
Fisher Phillips • November 24, 2009
"Love contract," is the common phrase that refers to a written confirmation that two employees' romantic relationship is voluntary, and that they both understand and know how to use employer policies that deal with harassment in the workplace.