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.
Articles Discussing Sexual Harassment Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
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.
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.
Congress recently passed the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act which includes Internal Revenue Code §162(q). Specifically
A recent Fifth Circuit decision reminds healthcare employers that liability not only stems from potential harassment of employees by coworkers, but by patients as well. In Gardner v. CLC of Pascagoula, L.L.C. dba Plaza Community Living Center, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17939 (5th Cir. June 29, 2018), the Fifth Circuit held that Kymberli Gardner, a former assisted living facility certified nursing assistant who was allegedly harassed by a patient, can proceed with her hostile work environment claim to trial. The Court reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After a tumultuous 2017, federal, state, and local governments have spent the start of 2018 reconsidering their approach toward sexual harassment in the workplace. While the federal government has focused on settlement and arbitration agreements, state governments have attempted a variety of techniques to address sexual harassment. States are considering legislation ranging from additional sexual harassment training, to protecting employees from retaliation when they are the victims of sexual harassment. This article discusses the new laws that seek to combat sexual harassment, as well as those legislative efforts that remain pending.
Dear Littler: I am a senior HR manager at a mid-sized company. One of our female team members just reported her manager, a vice president, for inappropriate conduct. She claims that what started out as mild flirtation on his part has progressed to outright sexual solicitation and unwelcome physical contact. Our company just can’t accept this kind of behavior. Can I go ahead and terminate him immediately?