Showing posts with label harassment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label harassment. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

This is why you train your management on how to respond to workplace harassment


During Joyce Morgan's employment at Convenient Food Mar, her co-worker, Todd Wise, subjected her to sustained and prolonged sexual harassment. Morgan complained to both her shift leader and the store manager. When they did nothing, she then complained to the store manager's supervisor. Despite her repeated complaints about Wise and the harassment to which he subjected her and others, no one at the company ever did anything. She ultimately resigned and sued.

Following a jury trial and a verdict in her favor, Morgan won a $221,688.56, which included compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys' fees.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

This should constitute a racially hostile work environment; the court says it didn't


15 different Black employees complain that their health-care employer maintains a racially hostile work environment. The allegations include several being exposed to the N-word at work, patients refusing treatment by Black employees and calling them "colored" and other slurs, and other race-based incidents.

Nevertheless, in EEOC v. Village at Hamilton Pointe, the 7th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the agency's racial harassment lawsuit. "In sum," the court wrote, "the evidence of record does not support, under established principles of law, a case for racial harassment that was so severe or pervasive as to alter the conditions of employment for any of these claimants."

I disagree.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Sexual harassment, bathroom, and pronouns


"Sex-based harassment includes harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity, including … repeated and intentional use of a name or pronoun inconsistent with the individual’s known gender identity … or the denial of access to a bathroom or other sex-segregated facility consistent with the individual’s gender identity."

That the official position of the EEOC in its just released, Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace.

EEOC Commissioner Andrea Lucas disagrees. She voted against the final guidance. She believes that the bathroom guidance is an "assault on women's sex-based privacy and safety," and the pronoun guidance is an assault on "speech and belief rights."

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Don't be an ostrich with harassment


"If I ignore harassment, it will go away" … is the 100% incorrect response to harassment happening in your workplace. It's also a non-refundable first-class ticket to a nasty lawsuit.

An employer CANNOT ostrich workplace protected class harassment. "Employer" includes managers and supervisors. If someone in a position of authority witnesses or otherwise learns of protected class harassment in the workplace, the business has the same legal obligations as if the victim had complained.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

If your company just agreed to pay $2 million to settle a horrific sexual harassment lawsuit, maybe don’t trash the plaintiff on social media


If your company just agreed to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit alleging horrific workplace sexual abuse and other sexual harassment, maybe it's not the best idea to trash the plaintiff on social media.

Last week, I nominated National Raisin for the Worst Employe of 2024, based on the allegations of a lawsuit it just settled with the EEOC. Those allegations consisted of widespread sexual abuse perpetrated by a male supervisor. To make matters worse, the lawsuit also alleged that HR did nothing when employees complained.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Join me at this year’s Craft Brewers Conference


If you google “brewery harassment” you’ll polish off an entire six-pack before you finish reading all of the horror stories.
 
🤮 “Breweries named in wave of sexual harassment claims; CEO steps down.”
🤮 “Brewery ownership group ‘steps back’ after sexual harassment claims.”
🤮 “’This behavior should not be endorsed or tolerated’: harassment allegations explored as brewery reportedly closes.”
🤮 “Couple who helped start major brewery accuse owner of sexual harassment.”
🤮 “Brewery founder steps away from operations amid allegations of sexism and racism.”
🤮 “Findings of investigation into toxic brewery workplace are ‘troubling and heartbreaking.’”

And on … and on … and on. It’s an epidemic in our craft beer industry.

Which is precisely why I am so excited to be returning to this year’s Craft Brewers Conference to present, “Crafting a Harassment-Free Craft Brewery.”

Just because something isn’t “illegal” doesn’t mean it’s acceptable


“This is very basic, elementary communication. This has nothing to do with training or understanding, this is daily required functioning.”

That’s just part of an email that a law firm partner sent to a Black associate. In her recently-filed lawsuit, she alleges that the firm terminated her in retaliation for complaining to HR that she believed that email was racially motivated.

In response to her internal complaint, HR told her that its investigation revealed that while the email was “inappropriate,” it was not racist because the partner treated everyone the same way. Thus, he was not singling her out because of her race.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

A lesson in how NOT to testify


Congresswoman Elise Stefanik: Ms. Magill at Penn, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Penn's rules or code of conduct? Yes or no?

UPenn President Liz Magill: If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment. Yes.

Stefanik: I am asking, specifically calling for the genocide of Jews, does that constitute bullying or harassment?

Magill: If it is directed, and severe, pervasive, it is harassment.

Stefanik: So the answer is yes.

Magill: It is a context dependent decision, Congresswoman.

Stefanik: It's a context dependent decision. That's your testimony today, calling for the genocide of Jews is depending upon the context, that is not bullying or harassment. This is the easiest question to answer. Yes, Ms. Magill. So is your testimony that you will not answer yes? Yes or no?

Magill: If the speech becomes conduct. It can be harassment, yes.

Stefanik: Conduct meaning committing the act of genocide. The speech is not harassment. This is unacceptable. Ms. Magill, I'm gonna give you one more opportunity for the world to see your answer. Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Penn's Code of Conduct when it comes to bullying and harassment? Yes or no?

Magill: It can be harassment.

Stefanik: The answer is yes.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

The most metal employment law update ever!


Two of the most famous bands in the history of heavy metal are each facing lawsuits from former tour workers.

The family of a Kiss guitar tech, who died while quarantining in 2021 after contracting Covid while on tour with the band, is suing the band for wrongful death. According to a prior investigation by Rolling Stone, Kiss allegedly maintained lax Covid protocols on the tour in question — including a lack of testing and lots of crew members falling ill — that contributed to the roadie's death.

Meanwhile, an ex-tour photographer is suing Guns N' Roses for copyright infringement and sexual harassment. She claims that the band claimed ownership over numerous of her photos and used them in print and digital media, ad campaigns, and other outlets. She also alleges that the band's manager made "numerous unwelcome sexual advances" toward her and "committed consistent pervasive sexual harassment" in a "workplace environment that was completely devoid of any sexual harassment policy, sexual harassment handbook, sexual harassment training, and human resource department."

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Maybe don’t forge texts if you want to win a lawsuit?


Andrea Rossbach, a registered nurse working at Montefiore Medical Center, claimed that her supervisor, Norman Morales, sexually harassed her. In support of her claim, she relied on a series of sexually harassing text messages Morales allegedly sent her, including messages in which he called her "hot," asked her to send him a photo of a G-string he gifted her.

Rossbach's claim, however, had one huge problem — the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that those text messages did not exist. She created them after the fact to use as evidence in her claim.

At her deposition, Rossbach testified that she could not produce screen shots of the text messages because she had initially received them on an old iPhone with a badly cracked screen, and that instead she had to take a photo of the texts with a newer iPhone X, which she had also later disposed of. 

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Workplace harassment and employee assistance programs


Is it legal under the ADA to mandate that an employee accused of sexual harassment use the company's employee assistance program? That's the question being asked in a lawsuit the EEOC just filed against Weis Markets.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Employers need to be more vigilant than ever with anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim bias


Not all Jews are Zionists colonizers, and not all Muslims are Hamas terrorists. In fact, most aren't. Moreover, you can oppose the policies or actions of the Israeli government without being antisemitic and oppose Hamas without being anti-Muslim.

Yet, the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has brought the Israeli-Palestinian conflict front and center into our lives, and as a result also into our workplaces. You can't stop employees from talking about current events, especially when those events are so horrific and so impactful on so many of us. Your employees will be talking about what's happening in Israel and Gaza. The key for employers is to make sure those discussions remain calm and respectful.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

EEOC busts a quartet of hospitality employers for pervasive sexual harassment


In a press release, the EEOC announced the filing of a series of sexual harassment lawsuits against Las Vegas hospitality employers. 

[The l]awsuits … allege sexual harassment towards employees by owners, supervisors and management, co-workers, and/or customers. The four lawsuits included allegations raised by workers throughout the hospitality industry, from housekeepers in hotels to waitstaff in both high-end and casual restaurants and bars. Allegations included the attempted rape of a young housekeeper, sexual assault, sexual solicitations, sexual comments, inappropriate touching, stalking, and other inappropriate behaviors. 

These lawsuits are consistent with agency's enforcement priorities as outlined in its just-released Strategic Plan, which includes targeting education and enforcement effots to protect vulnerable communities.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Managing an overly sensitive employee


Floyd Sesson, a Black UPS parts mechanic, saw race discrimination in every turn within his workplace.

When UPS changed its policy to prohibit overtime for all parts mechanics, Sesson claimed that the policy unlawfully targeted him because of his race.

When Sesson complained to management about the overtime cuts, he claimed he further lost overtime in retaliation for his complaints.

When supervisors tried to manage Sesson, he claimed they were harassing him because of his race.

The 6th Circuit had little difficulty in affirming the dismissal of Sesson's discrimination, retaliation, and harassment lawsuit.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

X marks the spot


There's nothing inherently illegal about naming one of your conference rooms "s3xy." If, however, your company has a history of allegations of sexual harassment and other sex discrimination, it's not the wisest choice.

"s3Xy" is among the names X (née Twitter) chose to rebrand the conference rooms inside its corporate offices. X's sister companies, SpaceX and Tesla, have a long history of defending sexual harassment lawsuits (and allegedly retaliating against the victims). All of these companies have one thing in common — Elon Musk.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Never send an accused harasser on a business trip with his alleged victim


"If he wants to sleep with someone, you have to say yes. It's normal that the coach sleeps with the players in our team."

That's what an anonymous player told The Guardian about Bruce Mwape, head coach of the Zambia women's national team.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

We need to talk about “wokeness”


"When I grow up, I want to be hired based on what I look like rather than my skills.… I want to get promoted based on my chromosomes.… I want to be offended by my coworkers and walk around of the office on eggshells."

Those are just a few of the quotes from some child actors in a viral YouTube ad for a company called RedBalloon.

RedBalloon is a job board to match anti-woke employees with like-minded employers.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

When you offer a reason for something, you better be really, really sure it’s correct


It is with great sadness that we announce that the Founders Detroit Taproom will be permanently closing its doors today.

Unfortunately, our Detroit location has not been immune to the struggle to regain foot traffic after temporary Covid closures that have impacted restaurants and bars across the nation.

That was the message that Founders Brewing Company posted across its social media channels earlier this week.

There is no doubt that the bar and restaurant industry has struggled throughout the pandemic and, in pockets, continues to struggle. Consider, however, that less than three hours before Founders announced its Detroit taproom closure, it was sued by a Black employee claiming that the brewery promoted her "purely for optic reasons" and subjected her to "egregious racial harassment" that was "so objectively racially hostile that she had no choice but to resign" last week.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Intentional misgendering IS sexual harassment


Jane works as a cashier at a donut shop. She is a transgender female who identifies by a female name and female pronouns. Her supervisor, Lisa, however, refuses to use Jane's preferred gender. She uses Jane's male legal name, male pronouns, and "dude" when referring to her, despite Jane's frequent requests for her to use female pronouns and the preferred female name. Lisa would similarly encourage customers not to use Jane's preferred name or pronouns.

Did Lisa create a hostile work environment based on Jane's sex? 

You bet she did.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Your anti-harassment obligations are 24/7/365


"I did not know that a workplace policy could be enforced when you're not at work."

Those are the words of former Tennessee Representative Scotty Campbell, spoken to a reporter a mere six hours before he resigned his seat in State General Assembly after a bipartisan ethics subcommittee concluded that he had sexually harassed two female  interns.