February is often called the “month of love,” and for employers, it may be an appropriate time to consider how to address issues surrounding workplace romance. Regardless of whether employers approve, it is likely inevitable that, at some point, the love bug will bite at work. According to a 2017 survey by CareerBuilder, 41 percent of employees said they had dated a work colleague within the prior year. Another study, by the University of Chicago, revealed that nearly 22 percent of U.S. married couples met at work. But because not every office romance results in wedding bells or fairy tale endings, such relationships create the potential for workplace conflicts, allegations of sexual harassment or retaliation and even litigation. Employers have several options for addressing possible problems in order to avoid legal headaches.
Articles Discussing Sexual Harassment Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
While EEO compliance remains an important objective for the employer community, minimizing the risk of facing a harassment claim has become a top priority. The weekly, and sometimes daily, headlines of new harassment allegations are ample proof of this.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.