Employment Law This Week®: Harassment Claims Trigger Shareholder Suits, Misclassification Standard Under Review, EEOC’s New Strategic Plan

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We invite you to view Employment Law This Week® - a weekly rundown of the latest news in the field, brought to you by Epstein Becker Green. We look at the latest trends, important court decisions, and new developments that could impact your work. Join us every Monday for a new five-minute episode!

This week’s stories include ...

(1) Sexual Harassment See more +

We invite you to view Employment Law This Week® - a weekly rundown of the latest news in the field, brought to you by Epstein Becker Green. We look at the latest trends, important court decisions, and new developments that could impact your work. Join us every Monday for a new five-minute episode!

This week’s stories include ...

(1) Sexual Harassment Allegations Lead to Shareholder Lawsuits

Our top story: Sexual misconduct in the C-suite leads to shareholder lawsuits. Last month on this program, you heard that sexual misconduct allegations would start impacting shareholder value and reputation. Now we’ve got a case study in Wynn Resorts. After The Wall Street Journal uncovered multiple sexual misconduct allegations against Casino mogul Steve Wynn, the company’s stock fell nearly 20 percent. Wynn resigned a week later, but the company’s troubles were far from over. The company’s stock has lost $3 billion in value. The first shareholder lawsuit was filed the day that Wynn resigned, and, to date, three suits by shareholders claim that Wynn and the Board breached their fiduciary duties to the company and its shareholders. Bill Milani, from Epstein Becker Green, has more:

“The lessons here are clear. Harm to a company’s reputation and finances, when misconduct is alleged by employees at any level, can be damaging. When those allegations are made regarding senior leaders, regarding the face of the company as with Steve Wynn, as with Harvey Weinstein, the allegations can bring down the company itself. It is crucial that senior leaders, and even board members, be trained as to how to react when they become aware of allegations of sexual harassment or other misconduct by other senior leaders. Legal departments, HR departments, must have in place protocols as to how to respond when such claims are made. It can be difficult where a general counsel, a head of HR, is asked to investigate the face of the company or someone to whom he or she might report. It’s important in those instances that they are prepared to retain an appropriate third party, an outside law firm, to conduct an investigation, to react quickly.”

(2) NLRB Invites Comments on Employee Misclassification

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is seeking amicus briefs on whether the misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor should be found to violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Former NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin argued that misclassification violates the NLRA because it impacts the rights that employees have under the NLRA, including the right to engage in concerted activities with co-workers, join a union, and engage in bargaining. To date, the NLRB has not ruled on the question. Amicus briefs must be filed by April 16.

(3) EEOC Publishes New Strategic Plan

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has approved its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2018 through 2022. The plan indicates that the agency will continue its focus on investigating and litigating claims of systemic discrimination while exercising its prosecutorial discretion “responsibly.” The plan also calls for increasing education and outreach and improving the EEOC’s internal operations. The document outlines 12 performance measures by which progress will be judged. The plan appears relatively routine, and reaction has been muted compared to the Obama EEOC’s Strategic Plans.

(4) Tip of the Week

Kate Bally, from Thomson Reuters, has some advice on avoiding family responsibilities discrimination, or “FRD.”

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