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Hostile Work Environment, Or Just NSFW?

When does crude language cross the line and become unlawful harassment? A court decision from this week reminded me about this issue, which I’ve been thinking about and discussing in harassment training for a long time...more

Zero Tolerance For "Zero Tolerance" Policies

"Zero tolerance" is too blunt an instrument, and it may even increase bad behavior. Chai Feldblum, a Democratic Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, was quoted this week as saying that "zero...more

This Week In Employment Law

In poetry, because we are classy here. Sweet Deal: a haiku (Roseanne Barr) I felt sorry for the cast But not any more. $4.5 mil for nothing!...more

#MeToo Quiz!

How much do you really know, from an HR standpoint? It's time for another employment law quiz! I wanted to do one in honor of Mother's Day, but I couldn't top the one I did last year. (If you missed it then, here's the...more

Jury Socks It To "Onionhead" Employer For $5.1 Million

It's enough to make an "onionhead" weep. A few years ago, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued this employer -- who allegedly discriminated against, harassed, and retaliated against a number of employees who...more

Don't Scrap The "Severe Or Pervasive" Standard In Sex Harassment Cases

There are probably worse ideas, but I can't think of any right now. Legislation is pending in Minnesota (House File 4459) that would expressly remove the "severe or pervasive" requirement for a sexual harassment claim...more

50 States, 50 Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

Coming soon to a nation near you. New York State and New York City have enacted laws that require employers to provide sexual harassment training, joining California, Connecticut, and Maine....more

Second-Guessing The Advice Columns: #MeToo Edition

Don't these columnists read the papers? The advice columnists had two big blunders this week on the topic of workplace sexual harassment....more

Rep. Meehan's Sex Harassment Settlement Proves My Points About NDAs

Once again, I wallow in the mud so you won't have to. Only two weeks ago, I posted about non-disclosure agreements ("NDAs") in sexual harassment settlements, and how confidentiality often benefits the victims....more

Aziz Ansari, And 10 Old-Fashioned Ways To Bail On A Bad Date

Just say no! Of course, the Aziz Ansari "date debacle" (or whatever it was) was not a workplace harassment situation. First, Mr. Ansari and his anonymous date were not co-workers. Second, Mr. Ansari may have been...more

1/19/2018  /  Harassment , Sexual Harassment

A Visit From St. Nick, Esq.

My apologies to Clement Clarke Moore. Happy holidays! ‘Twas the holiday party, a break from the drudge, Not a creature was sober, not even a judge; The bar was well-tended, with liquor and wine, And all the employees...more

You Gotta Quit Kickin' HR Around

This bustin' on HR is gettin' me down, You got to quit kickin' HR around. Human Resources professionals seem to be everybody's favorite scapegoat. The profession is under attack yet again -- this time for apparently...more

Don't Believe Everything You Read.

A boss who grabs an employee's breasts without her consent is indeed guilty of sexual harassment. Two law professors co-wrote an article that appeared in yesterday's New York Times with the headline, "Boss Grab Your...more

WHAT NOW? The Sexual Harassment Scandals, And What Employers Can Do To Protect Themselves And Their Employees

Harvey Weinstein. Kevin Spacey. Charlie Rose. Louis C.K. Roy Moore. Al Franken. John Conyers. The list grows daily. Women and men are coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment and abuse, and some of the allegations...more

Afraid You May Be A Sexual Harasser? Some Helpful Dos And Don'ts

So, you don't want to be a sexual harasser at work? Good for you! Follow these dos and don'ts, and you should be in great shape. An article in last Friday's New York Times indicated that in light of the ever-growing number...more

Catholic Priest Is (Allegedly) An Equal Opportunity Offender, Court Says, Dismissing Bias Suit

Father, you kiss your mother with that mouth? The recent dismissal of a lawsuit in New York — involving a priest who is principal at a Catholic high school — illustrates why an (alleged) “equal opportunity offender” is...more

Employment Law Quiz: Bizarro Edition

See how you do with these guaranteed true news items from the last week, all relating to employment law. Then tell me whether you agree that we are living in some crazy times. YCMTSU.* *You Can’t Make This Stuff Up. (I...more

Employer Beware: Bad “Optics” Create Hostile Work Environment?

Yesterday, I posted about a disability discrimination case that the employer did not really screw up. Even so, a few less-than-optimal moves resulted in an adverse jury verdict that was upheld on appeal. In Chapter 2 of...more

Are You A Harassment “Daredevil”? Here Are 5 Behaviors That Put You At Risk.

Not every obnoxious workplace behavior is unlawful harassment. To violate federal law, the harassment has to be unwelcome, based on a “protected category” (for example, sex or race), and “severe or pervasive.” But most...more

“Ask Amy,” Part Deux: Amy Gets The Message

I recently complained that Amy Dickson, author of the “Ask Amy” syndicated advice column, had given some poor (or at least premature) employment law advice to a reader. Apparently, a number of her readers expressed similar...more

Is Siri A Victim And A Cause Of Sexual Harassment?

The next time employers offer sexual harassment training, they might want to require employees to bring their mobile devices. According to Leah Fessler, virtual assistants Siri (Apple), Alexa (Amazon), Cortana...more

Workplace Harassment: EEOC’s Employer Best Practices

How can an employer best prevent workplace harassment from occurring, and deal with it effectively when it occurs? What would the EEOC say employers should do? This is my third and final installment on the proposed...more

9 “Fun” Facts About Workplace Harassment, From The EEOC

Last week, I shared with you what I didn’t like about the proposed Enforcement Guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on workplace harassment. Well, this is warm-and-fuzzy week. Moving on to the parts...more

Workplace Investigations And The Case Of The Planted Peanut Butter

I’m a week late with this follow-up. (Sorry.) - Two weeks ago, I posted about an employee (fictionally named “Zoey”) who had a peanut allergy. After she asked a peanut-butter-loving co-worker (“Addison”) to be...more

Shoddy Harassment Investigation Comes Back To Bite Employer

Employers, has this ever happened to you? An employee has accused her boss of sexual harassment. Right now, it’s her word against his, but you might be able to find out the truth if you interview her co-workers. The...more

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