Tag Archives: harassment

The Limits of Latif: Enforcing Mandatory Arbitration Clauses as to Harassment and Discrimination Claims Litigated in New York State Court

On June 19, 2019, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed legislation that would, if signed into law, broaden the scope of last year’s ban on clauses requiring employees to arbitrate sexual harassment claims so as to prohibit such clauses with respect to all types of discrimination claims. As reported on this blog, this ban on mandatory arbitration clauses was deemed invalid, as contrary to federal law, by the June 26, 2019 decision of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Latif v. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, et al. (S.D.N.Y. No. 18-11528). It is too early, however, to declare the death of New York’s ban on mandatory arbitration clauses in harassment and discrimination claims. Absent diversity of citizenship, plaintiffs’ counsel may choose to assert only state-law claims in an effort to eliminate federal court jurisdiction over an employer’s petition to compel arbitration. As motions to compel arbitration will continue to be decided by New York state courts, employers should be mindful of the relevant New York decisions when drafting arbitration agreements and dispute resolution programs.

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How Will New York City’s Sexual Harassment Act Effect Contractors?

A Trending News video has been posted now that the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act is in effect. New York employers must provide annual anti-harassment training for their workers, and there are specific rules that apply to independent contractors. Contractors shouldn’t be harassed, and they can also create exposure if they engage in harassment. As a reminder to NYC employers: Don’t forget your contractors!

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Employer ordered to pay $150k for lack of investigation into sexual assault

A steel product manufacturer has been ordered to pay its former employee $130,000 for pain and suffering caused by sexual harassment experienced in the course of her employment (jointly with the perpetrator of the harassment). In addition to this, the company is to pay $20,000 to the employee in the form of aggravated damages.

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Governor Cuomo Proposes to Strengthen Protections Against Harassment In the Workplace

Building on progressive legislation passed last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a sweeping proposal to strengthen protections against harassment in the workplace. The four part sexual assault and harassment safety reforms initiative, titled “TIME’S UP New York Safety Agenda,” is contained in the Governor’s 2019 Executive Budget, which was released on January 22, 2019. The safety reforms seek to prevent sexual harassment and assault from occurring while simultaneously enabling survivors to seek justice.

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New California Law Aims To Protect Employers and Harassment Victims from Defamation Lawsuits

On July 9, 2018, Governor Edmund Brown, Jr. signed into law Assembly Bill 2770 (“AB 2770”) to protect victims of sexual harassment and employers from defamation claims brought by alleged harassers. AB 2770 was sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce and passed by the California Legislature to address the chilling effect that the threat of defamation suits can have on harassment victims and employers: deterring victims and witnesses from coming forward; deterring employers from telling prospective employers about a genuine harasser; and allowing repeat sexual harassers to harass future victims at their new place of employment.

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New EEOC Commentary on Workplace Harassment

Last week, the EEOC released its latest edition of its federal sector Digest of Equal Opportunity Law, a quarterly publication featuring recent Commission decisions and federal court cases selected by EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations. This edition features an article titled, “Promising Practices for Preventing Harassment,” which is the fruition of an EEOC task force on workplace harassment. The article, which is particularly timely given the #MeToo movement, advances five core principles to deter and remedy harassment: (1) committed and engaged leadership; (2) consistent and demonstrated accountability; (3) strong and comprehensive harassment policies; (4) trusted and accessible complaint procedures; and (5) regular, interactive training tailored to the audience and the organization.

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Harassment is not costly only to stars…

November 1, 2017 — Over the past few weeks, the media have been replete with reports of complaints alleging that high-profile individuals from the entertainment world had had improper if not abusive sexual behaviour with victims under their influence.

Jacques Bélanger reminds employers that film stars and moguls are not the only people who could end up paying top dollar for such errors. If you are an employer, your employees’ misbehaviour could be very costly to you.

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“Get the Facts” – EEOC Publishes New Fact Sheet for Start-Ups and Small Businesses

Nancy L. Gunzenhauser

On March 3, 2016, the EEOC issued a one-page fact sheet aimed at assisting start-ups and small businesses understand their responsibilities under the various federal employment laws. The fact sheet, which is available in over 30 languages, reminds employers that:

  • employment decisions cannot be made on the basis of protected categories
  • employers should establish policies that do not disparately impact employees on the basis of protected categories
  • men and women must be provided equal pay
  • employers should prevent harassment, but if a complaint is raised, employers should promptly address claims of harassment or discrimination
  • employers should provide reasonable accommodations for medical and religious purposes
  • employers must display required posters
  • employment records must be kept, including applications and personnel files
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Handling defamation and reverse discrimination claims when investigating harassment

Arnstein & Lehr attorney E. Jason Tremblay

E. Jason Tremblay

Arnstein & Lehr Chicago Partner Jason Tremblay authored the article titled “How to avoid defamation and reverse discrimination claims when investigating harassment,” which appeared in the February 22 edition of Inside Counsel. In the article, Mr. Tremblay explains that an employer must conduct its investigation in the most confidential manner possible and be extremely careful about how it characterizes the harassing employee to reduce their potential liability. Also, an employer’s disciplinary measures of its harassing employee should always be uniformly administered and readily justifiable.

To read the article in full, please click here.

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Here We Go Again! It’s Time To Conduct Your Mandatory Harassment Training for 2011!

By: Betsy Johnson

For many employers with operations and/or employees in California, 2011 is a harassment training year.  In 2011, especially, it will be critical for employers to get into and/or remain in compliance with California’s sexual harassment training law (Government Code Section 12950.1) which became effective on January 1, 2005, with the passage of AB 1825.  Employers who have not diligently conducted the required training since 2005 should view 2011 as the year to get on track.

Governor Jerry Brown has promised to increase the enforcement of state laws that protect employees in the workplace.  In addition, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has pledged to increase its enforcement efforts against employers who fail to provide a workplace that is free from unlawful discrimination and harassment.  This will likely translate into more employee complaints of unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation and increased investigations and enforcement proceedings by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing against employers who are accused of violating these laws.

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