Harassment

News & Analysis as of

That is SO last week - August 2015

Last week, the world mourned Cecil the Lion, and all eyes were on the Minnesota dentist who killed him. The scrutiny of the dentist unearthed, among other things, a sexual harassment complaint lodged against him by a former...more

New Jersey Court Affirms $192,000 Fee Award Against Whistleblower Plaintiff

Earlier this week, employers in the Garden State saw another glimmer of hope for defending against frivolous claims brought under New Jersey’s whistleblower statute, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”),...more

Confederate Flag License Plate Does Not Create a Hostile Work Environment Based on Race

The recent tragic shooting in Charleston reignited debate nationwide regarding the appropriateness of public displays of the Confederate battle flag. Earlier this year, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that a...more

The Sixth Circuit Finds Complaints to Harassing Supervisor Constitute Protected Activity Under Title VII

A recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (“Sixth Circuit”) decision could have major implications for employers within its jurisdiction. In EEOC v. New Breed Logistics, No. 13-6250, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6650, the...more

Employer Potentially Liable for Harassment of Supervisor by Her Subordinates

Employers are well aware of their potential liability for workplace harassment claims involving co-workers or third parties. They also understand their heightened legal responsibility when the alleged harasser is the...more

Risky Business: A Three-Step Plan For Addressing Harassment By Nonemployees

Employers have long understood that they face potential liability when an employee is sexually harassed by another employee and they do nothing to prevent or fix the known problem. It is also true, but perhaps less well...more

Unpaid Interns: The New Category of Employees?

The fiery debate over the employment status of and protections afforded to unpaid interns is alive and well! It appears that Congress is continuing the trend of providing additional workplace protections to unpaid interns. ...more

Court Issues Preliminary Injunction Prohibiting Employer From Terminating Employee Pending Resolution Of EEOC Lawsuit

On July 22, 2015, in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Peters’ Bakery, Case No. 13-CV-045107 (N.D. Cal. July 22, 2015), Judge Beth Labson Freeman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California,...more

Court Prevents Peters’ Bakery from Firing Employee Alleging Discrimination in EEOC Suit

Federal Agency Obtains Preliminary Injunction to Protect Latina Clerk's Job - SAN JOSE, Calif. - Peters' Bakery, a family-owned business in East San Jose, may not terminate a sales clerk whose allegations of ethnic and...more

Employers Can be Liable For Acts of Anonymous Harassers

A recent federal court case emphasized an important lesson for all companies to consider: employers are under an obligation to investigate employee complaints of a hostile work environment even if the identity of the harasser...more

The Key to Fostering Employee Engagement in Workplace Harassment Training

OCEG Chair Scott Mitchell and The Network’s VP of Product Management and Corporate Development, Jimmy Lin, discuss how to foster engagement around areas that affect companies of all sizes, such as workplace harassment...more

NLRB Judge Orders Reinstatement Of Employee Who Made Racist Taunts Toward African-Americans

The National Labor Relations Board promotes itself as a government agency that “safeguards employees’ rights,” but you would not know it from a recent ruling upholding racist statements made by union supporters on a picket...more

Hostile Work Environment: Playing Defense to Offensive Workplace Conduct

A hostile environment can result from the unwelcome conduct of supervisors, co-workers, customers, contractors or anyone else with whom the victim interacts on the job when the unwelcome conduct renders the workplace...more

Deliberate Indifference to Bullying Can Amount to Massive Liability – Lessons from the Pine Bush Settlement

$4.48 million. That’s how much the Pine Bush School District in central-New York just agreed to pay to settle a lawsuit brought by a group of current and former students who alleged that school administrators were...more

Is Sexual Orientation Now a Protected Class?

In our June 26 alert regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, we said we would continue to keep you posted regarding new developments in this area of the law. Some of you may...more

Federal Court Says Employer Can Be Liable for Acts of Anonymous Harasser

As a major national company learned recently, employers cannot shirk their obligations to investigate employee complaints of a hostile work environment simply because the identity of the harasser is unknown. Failure to...more

What is Implicit Bias and Why Should Employers Care?

In 2014, Baker Donelson's Diversity Committee instituted a mandatory firm-wide training program on "implicit bias" which has continued into 2015. While the Firm regularly conducts training in how to prevent discrimination,...more

When Political Discourse “Trumps” Workplace Rules

You thought Donald Trump was all over the place before. The golf courses, beauty pageants and reality shows paled in comparison to what we have seen and heard in 2015. Jumping into the ring of this election cycle’s...more

Jury Awards Ex-Intern $18 million for Attacks by her CEO Boss

In recent headlines, private equity CEO, Benjamin Wey, was found liable for defaming, sexually harassing and retaliating against former New York Global Group Intern Hanna Bouveng. The jury awarded her $2 million in...more

The Cost of Bad Performance Reviews: ‘I’m Getting Sued Because My Evaluations Were Too Nice?’

For many companies, employee performance reviews are often an afterthought. A recent survey showed that only 10 percent of employers actually found their current performance review process a “good use of time.” Many...more

Fifth Circuit Fires at the Department of Labor with Colorful, Precedential Prose

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently slammed the United States Department of Labor with a finding of abusive conduct and ordered an award of significant monetary sanctions for bad faith, harassment, and abusive...more

Party Time: Mixing Drinks at the Company Picnic

It’s summer, and time for company softball tournaments, picnics, and outdoor happy hours. These are functions at which employees get a chance to relax with each other, meet each other’s families, and bond over outdoor games...more

Fourth Circuit Holds Employer to High Standard for Responding to Anonymous Workplace Harassment

Employers and employees often face frustrations when trying to determine the identity of persons who engage in anonymous acts of harassment in the workplace. These acts can involve notes, graffiti, telephone messages or other...more

DOL Files Discrimination Suit Against Baltimore-Based Federal Contractor

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) has filed a lawsuit before the Office of Administrative Law Judges against WMS Solutions LLC (“WMS”) alleging violations of...more

Labour arbitrator agrees to hear harassment-retaliation grievance under OHSA

Although a temporary employee had no termination protection under the collective agreement, he did have the right to advance a reprisal / retaliation claim under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, a labour arbitrator has...more

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