Articles tagged 'sexual harassment'

HR Management, Legal Issues

Here’s the Completely Wrong Way to Respond to Harassment Complaints

Sexual harassment

Editor’s Note: Weekly Wrap has been pre-empted by spring conference travel season. It will return soon. 

By Eric B. Meyer

Folks, let me give you little free Friday HR pro tip:

If a female employee complains to a female manager that another male manager is sexually harassing her, it’s not OK for the female manager to respond thusly,

He’s a guy and you work with guys. Ignore it and smile.” Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Fired for Sex Jokes, Man Claims Disability Act Violations Instead

ADA-Sign

By Eric B. Meyer

As I resist every urge to cheapen this post further by resorting to silly puns and other double entendre, allow me to set the stage of this case for you:

The plaintiff was an auto technician in the vehicle install bay at a large electronics store. According to the court’s opinion (in Sharp v. Best Buy Co., Inc.), he was familiar with the store’s zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment. Through his doctor, the plaintiff, who had narcolepsy and cataplexy, requested no shift work. With one scheduling exception, the store accommodated him.

About a year later, one of the plaintiff’s female co-workers accused him of sexual harassment. The allegations revolved around comments from the plaintiff regarding the victim and the act of fellatio. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Can an Employee Get Fired For Punching a Sexual Harasser?

© Piotr Marcinski - Fotolia

By Eric B. Meyer

Can you smack your sexual harasser, complain, and still claim retaliation?

The plaintiff in this case (Speed v. Wes Health System) claimed that she was sexually harassed by her male supervisor for over a year. The court’s opinion details alleged comments and groping in vivid detail. (No recap here. I plan to keep my post PG, damn it! OK, PG-13. You happy, now?).

Whenever the plaintiff supposedly complained, her employer did nothing about the harassment. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

When Sexting and Flirting isn’t Sexual Harassment At All

Sexual harassment

By Eric B. Meyer

To prove sexual harassment, a plaintiff must have been subjected to pervasive or severe behavior based on the plaintiff’s sex. Further, not only would an objective person have to find the behavior offensive, but the plaintiff must be offended as well.

Usually, when a plaintiff claims sexual harassment, a court takes for granted that conduct at issue offended the plaintiff.

But, I just read about a case that bucked the trend. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Title VII Prohibits Retaliation Based on Good Faith Claim of Harassment

no-harassment

By Eric  B. Meyer

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 complained, then that won’t create a claim under Title VII. Or does it?

In Bennefield v. Mid-Valley Healthcare, Inc., an employee allegedly complained to her supervisor that a co-worker was creating a hostile work environment by, among other things, calling the employee a “disgusting lesbian” and a “stupid lesbian.” Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Will Congress Require Sex Harassment Training For Its Employees?

no-harassment

By David N. Goldman

Many private employers, and the agencies under the federal executive branch, provide regular sexual harassment training to their employees. Yet, one notable employer, the United States Congress, does not.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-CA, seeks to bridge that gap.

This week, Speier introduced a resolution to amend the Rules of the House of Representatives to require members and their staff to take “a specific program of training in the prevention and deterrence of sexual harassment in employment.” (Section 1 (a)(1)).

The annual training would be two hours for new members and employees, and one hour thereafter. (Section 1 (a)(3)(B)(ii)). Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Is It Unreasonable to Tell Your Boss to Stop Sexually Harassing You?

123RF Stock Photo

By Eric B. Meyer

I can actually feel the daggers that some of you are staring into me.

So, please allow me to explain.

How to demonstrate sexual harassment

When an employee sues for sexual harassment, he/she must show four things:

  • He or she was subjected to conduct of a sexual nature;
  • The conduct was unwelcome; Read more…
HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

How a Single Kiss CAN Cause a Harassment Lawsuit

no-harassment

By Eric B. Meyer

I give a lot of “respect in the workplace” training. And I generally tell the audience that, while a single offensive comment or act in the workplace is one incident too many, one instance generally does not create a winning lawsuit.

That’s because a plaintiff must show that he/she was subjected to either severe (really, really bad) or pervasive (a lot of bad) behavior to establish a hostile work environment.

Now, there are some exceptions. New Jersey is one of the few states that has held that a single discriminatory comment can create an actionable hostile work environment claim.

But what if, instead of a slur, we have an assault; one which the plaintiff claims was not only unwelcome, but particularly disturbing? Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Sharing Topless Photos At Work: Not Smart, But Not an Invitation, Either

123RF Stock Photo

By Eric B. Meyer

Dear Google User Who Got Four Words Into This And Clicked:

Sorry, this is an employment law blog.

From time to time we have some prurient (look it up) content. Like, this one time, I blogged about a former prostitute who sued for sexual harassment. Sure, I’ve also discussed Playboy-posing cheerleaders, and a place called the Wild Beaver Saloon. And then there was that post about the strip club. Make that posts (plural).

Anyway, to those who got here looking for topless photos, again, I’m sorry. I cannot accommodate (look it up) you. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

The 2 Critical Questions From San Diego’s Sexual Harassment Scandal

bob-filner

By Ashley Kaplan

As the number of women accusing San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment reaches the double digits, public interest surrounding the case is at an all-time high, as well.

In the wake of the accusations – and despite intense pressure to resign – Filner refuses to step down. Instead, Filner is undergoing two weeks of intensive behavioral therapy (that was completed early) for what he admits was “disrespectful conduct.”

Because of his time in therapy, a judge has postponed the embattled San Diego mayor’s deposition. A new date has not been set, but the judge ordered both legal sides (Filner and the former communications director who filed the suit) to appear at a hearing on September 16. Read more…