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Rumors and Gossip in Workplace Can Create Employer Liability for Harassment, Fourth Circuit Holds

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).

Healthcare Lawyers Meeting Highlights Need for a Coordinated Approach to Preventing Sexual Harassment in Hospitals

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.

“Would You Sleep With the Manager to Get This Job?” Asks Subway Manager

A manager of a Subway sandwich restaurant in Albany, New York allegedly had a practice of texting minor job applicants about whether they would sleep with him to get the job. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), the federal watchdog for anti-employment discrimination laws, sued the Franchisee who owns the restaurant, alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. The Franchisee settled, agreeing to pay $80,000 to the two applicants who alleged receiving such texts.

Avoidance of Women is Not the Answer to the #MeToo Movement

Since October 2017, companies have been grappling with how to respond to the #MeToo movement. We have seen employers impose enhanced sexual harassment policies and conduct more robust internal investigations. We have seen New York State and New York City pass legislation requiring sexual harassment policies and training of every employee and more. We have seen Connecticut try, although ultimately fail, to expand its own sexual harassment training requirements. We have also, unfortunately, seen companies take an avoidance approach. Specifically, some male executives have begun avoiding women all together as a form of self-preservation. On December 3, 2018, Bloomberg.com even published an article stating Wall Street’s Rule for the #MeToo Era: Avoid Women at All Cost.

#MeToo in Medicine: Year in Review

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.

Senate Democrats Preview Workplace Harassment Agenda

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.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Files Sexual Harassment Suits Across the US

This summer, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), the federal watch dog for federal employment discrimination statutes, filed seven sexual harassment lawsuits against companies across the United States. Another likely response to the #MeToo movement. Despite the change in Administrations, the watch dog agencies are still at work!

#MeToo: Third Circuit Chisels Away At Employers’ Faragher-Ellerth Defense

With the rise of the #MeToo movement, employers everywhere are smartly taking the time to learn their duties and responsibilities when it comes to preventing sexual harassment. A valuable affirmative defense available to employers facing allegations of sexual harassment is the Faragher-Ellerth defense, named after Supreme Court cases Faragher v. Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775 (1998), and Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 742 (1998). While this defense can be helpful, its scope is being narrowed in the courts. This may be a sign of the times.

PODCAST: #MeToo One Year Later: An Update for Employers

Join Milwaukee attorneys Sarah Platt and Christine Bestor Townsend as they discuss how things have changed for employers in the era of #MeToo.

#MeToo: The Tweet Heard ’Round the World One Year Later

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.”