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Sexual Harassment Still Ranks High on EEOC’s Radar

Sexual harassment claims remain all too common on the evening news and in courts across the nation. From recent allegations against on-demand driving giant Uber to jewelry stores Kay and Jared, the stories are hard to miss.

Hugs May Create Hostile Work Environment, 9th Circuit Rules

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that unwelcome workplace hugs may give rise to a sexually hostile work environment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. A female corrections officer claimed that her male superior hugged her often enough to make her uncomfortable at work. The employer and the co-defendant county sheriff countered that the hugs were completely innocuous and never involved sexual comments or touching.

Hugs May Get You Sued

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.

EEOC Public Input Deadline on Proposed Harassment Enforcement Guidance Extended to March 21

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.

Workplace Dating Surprisingly Common, Survey Finds

More than four in 10 workers have dated a co-worker, according to a survey released today by the job search website CareerBuilder.

Super Bowl Commercial Highlights Pay Equity

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.

Romance Heating Up the Workplace? Answers to Employers’ Burning Questions

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, and love in the air, it is a good time for employers to revisit the issue of workplace romance. Whether employers like it or not, romance can and will bloom at work and co-workers may get hot and heavy.

EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance Urges Employers To Be Proactive in Preventing, Addressing Workplace Harassment

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.

What Does ‘Sexual Harassment’ Mean Today?

After flaring up as a hot topic 25 years ago at the confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court, sexual harassment gained renewed attention in 2016 with high-profile incidents including Harvard canceling its men’s soccer team season in November after school officials discovered that players were rating the school’s female players in sexually explicit terms. And Fox News chairman Roger Ailes resigned in July after on-air personality Gretchen Carlson sued, alleging that he co-mingled career advances and sexual advances.

EEOC Releases Proposed Enforcement Guidance Addressing Harassment

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released for public input a proposed enforcement guidance addressing unlawful harassment under federal employment discrimination laws. The report builds on recommendations from the agency's Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, which were issued in a report last summer. Employers and other stakeholders may submit comments until February 9, 2017.