LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
If Your Workplace Has “No bra Thursday,” It’s Time For Some Harassment Training

According to the Salt Lake Tribune , a Utah woman has sued her former employer, claiming she was sexually harassed at work. The allegations, according to her federal lawsuit, are outrageous: Her supervisor provided a written work schedule that included "Mini-skirt Monday," "Tube...

Vague complaint dooms employee's retaliation lawsuit

Susanne Pintagro worked for Sagamore Hills Township as an administrative assistant. When a newly hired intern made her feel "uncomfortable and concerned for [her] safety" she took her concerns to the township's trustees. The trustees determined that because Ms. Pintagro and the intern had...

SCOTUS Grants Cert in Supervisor Liability Case

Breaking news from the Supreme Court (sorry, no health care opinion today): The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Vance v. Ball State University . You can read the order here in case you think I'm lying. The Petitioner's Brief (available here) identifies the Question Presented as: In...

Butt Slapping . . . Not Harassment? - COTW #115

This Case of the Week comes to us from Virginia: Williams v. Ocean Beach Club, LLC , 2:11CV639, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137554, (E.D. Va. Sept. 25, 2012). The plaintiff claimed she was terminated in retaliation for complaining about her supervisor . . . smacking her butt? Yes, smacking her butt. Now, in...

Five Snips on Workplace Harassment (Plus a Bonus)

Five quick ones from the harassment world, plus a "bonus track" involving our old friends Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer. This is sexual harassment? On what planet? Employment Law360 (paid subscription required) reports that a court in California is allowing the sexual harassment...

A Lesson about Employee Complaints from the Miami Dolphins

Wow. What a difference 24 hours can make. Last week, Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin abruptly left the team amid press reports that team members were bullying him. Yesterday morning, (Nov. 3rd), the Miami Dolphins issued a press release calling any “notion of bullying”...

If You Don't Want Anti-Bullying Legislation, Give Me a “Hell Yeah!”

Bullying in the workplace isn’t illegal, unless it’s bullying because of some protected characteristic (sex, race, etc.). Yet, just because something is legal doesn’t mean it should be condoned. According to Today’s General Counsel (citing the Workplace Bullying Institute’s...

New York City Statute Authorizes Certain Unpaid Interns to Sue For Employment Discrimination or Workplace Harassment

Effective June 14, 2014, certain unpaid interns in New York City gained the right to sue their employers for discrimination in employment or workplace harassment. However, the effect of this new statute is quite limited, because most unpaid trainees in New York City fall outside the new statute’s...

Court: Title VII Prohibits Retaliation Based on Good-Faith Complaint of Sexual-Orientation Harassment

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on a number of protected classes . Sexual orientation isn't one of those protected classes specifically listed in the statute. So, if an employee complains about sexual-orientation harassment and is later fired because she...

How Swift Response to Racial Slurs and Graffiti Defused a Discrimination Claim

You have an employee handbook, an anti-harassment policy, training, the whole nine. But, sometimes, notwithstanding your best efforts to create a positive, respectful workplace, you receive a complaint from an employee who claims to be the victim of harassment based on [insert protected class]. ...

Sexual Harassment Investigations

by Jami K. Suver Your policies look good on paper, but are you prepared to conduct an effective investigation of workplace sexual harassment? When you receive a complaint of harassment, you need to quickly commence and complete an investigation. Of course, your approach and the questions you ask will...

New Year’s Resolutions: The EEOC’S Focus on Workplace Harassment in 2015

by Mark C. Dean As the calendar rolls over into a new year, many of us are busy making resolutions, and it seems that certain government enforcement agencies are no different. On January 14, 2015, the EEOC held its first meeting of the new year, resolving to renew its focus on the issue of workplace...

California Makes Anti-Bullying Training A Component Of Mandatory Harassment Training

by Marlene Nicolas and Will Kim California employers with more than 50 employees must include “abusive conduct” prevention training in their mandatory harassment prevention training. Assembly Bill No. 2053 expanded the scope of training required by Government Code Section 12950.1, which...

Five Harassment “Must Haves” for Employers

Maybe it’s just me, but workplace harassment issues seem to come in waves — I’ll go months, or even a year, without an issue, and then WHAM! everybody has a “situation,” or at least they need to get their preventive training done. Right now, we’re in a bit of a...

Harassment “Must-Have” No. 4: The Determination

It’s the moment of truth! ( Dum-dum-DUM! ) Two weeks ago, we talked about harassment “must-haves” 1 and 2: a good, plain-language policy, and training . Last week, we talked about “must-have” 3: the investigation . Now it’s time to talk about “must-have”...

A Lesson in How Not to Respond to a Harassment Complaint

Diana Retuerto worked in the office of Berea Moving & Storage. She claimed that the company’s owner, Willard Melton, made “verbal advances” towards her, including comments about dreams he was having about her, her physical appearance, and questions about her makeup and hair. Over...

Harassment “Must-Have” No. 5: No Retaliation!

We have reached the fifth and final of our five harassment “must-haves”: No retaliation. It should be easy to avoid retaliation, right? Because retaliatory conduct is intentional – you can’t “accidentally” retaliate against someone. You can’t “negligently”...

NLRB Upholds Racist Speech as Protected Activity Under National Labor Relations Act

by Andrew J. Barber In a ruling which was a bit of a surprise to some in the employer community, a Judge of the National Labor Relations Board recently concluded that racist a speech made during picketing of an employer qualified as protected activity under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations...

Just Because Harassment Is Offensive Doesn’t Make It Illegal

Clifford Harris is a practicing member of the Voodoo religion. His co-workers at Electro-Motive Diesel often expressed their opinion about his religion, calling him “crazy” and describing it as “evil”. (For what it’s worth, they might not have been that off base—Harris...

The Other Side of the Coin on the Appropriate Response to Harassment

Last week I discussed the importance of a timely and effective remedial response by an employer to an employee’s harassment complaint. Today, I examine the other side of the coin—what happens when an employer does not take proactive steps to eliminate harassment from the workplace. The...

Court Upholds Employee Firing After Complaining About Gay Slurs. Was That a Mistake?

Mr. Gaff worked as a custodian at a University. He claimed that, on several occasions, his subordinate called him a “fa***t.” So, Mr. Gaff complained to his supervisor. Then, Mr. Gaff was later fired. Retaliation? Now, back to this case , the one where the plaintiff claims he was unlawfully...

Workplace Sexual Harassment Prevention

For the first time in three semesters of teaching employment law at Penn State, I am cancelling class on Thursday. As a result, I recorded a video to address some of the issues we would have covered that day. Here's Intro to Workplace Sexual Harassment Prevention: Intro to Workplace Sexual Harassment...