Category Archives: Sexual Harassment

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#MeToo Changes the Face of Sexual Harassment Litigation for Employers

With the rise of the #MeToo movement, companies have been forced to re-examine how they litigate and settle allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace.  Specifically, companies are facing increasing criticism if they compel claims of sexual harassment to private arbitration or force employees who allege sexual harassment to sign settlement agreements with confidentiality clauses, … Continue Reading

EEOC Data Confirms #MeToo’s Impact: Six Keys for Employers in the Wake of This Powerful Cultural Moment

A 21st Century Social Movement In this age of interconnectivity, compelling societal movements have a never-before-seen speed and reach. Traditional means of spreading information and generating social change have been supplemented—if not outright replaced—by the near-instantaneous ability of an idea or cause to go viral on social media, regardless of its source. In 2018, the … Continue Reading

New Wave of Employment Bills Signed into Law

On Sunday, September 30, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a number of bills that will have a significant impact on litigation and legal counseling in the employment context. Many of the new laws are a response to the traction gained by the “me-too” movement and are summarized herein.… Continue Reading

New York State Publishes Updated Sexual Harassment Materials and Information

On October 1, 2018, New York State released final model sexual harassment materials and compliance guidance in response to comments received during its open comment period, discussed in more detail in a previous blog article. The new materials provide important guidance for future compliance and include new employer requirements, as detailed below.… Continue Reading

New California Law Puts an End to Secret Sexual Harassment Settlements

On September 30, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that prohibits a provision in settlement agreements that prevents the disclosure of information pertaining to sexual harassment and sex discrimination. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2019, and serves as an extension of the already-existing law that prohibits provisions in settlement … Continue Reading

New York State Publishes Draft Model Sexual Harassment Materials

On Thursday, August 23, 2018, New York State released draft model sexual harassment materials in preparation for October 9, 2018 employer compliance with its new sexual harassment laws, discussed in detail in a previous blog article. New Materials: New York State published the following draft materials on August 23, 2018: A new informational webpage A … Continue Reading

Upcoming Deadlines For New York City Employers: New York City Commission on Human Rights Publishes Poster and Fact Sheet on Sexual Harassment

As previously reported in a prior article, in May 2018, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act (the “Act”). The Act provides, among other things, starting September 6, 2018, all New York City employers must display the New York City Commission on Human Right’s (“NYCCHR”) … Continue Reading

Hands Off-Pants On Ordinance In Effect in Chicago; California May Be Next

Last October, we wrote about a Chicago ordinance requiring hotel employers to, among other things, equip hotel employees assigned to work in guestrooms or restrooms with portable emergency contact devices. The ordinance took effect July 1, 2018. Hotel employers in Chicago should ensure compliance with the mandates of the ordinance as penalties may reach $500 … Continue Reading

Update: New York State Passes Budget, Creates New Sexual Harassment Obligations For Employers

On April 12, 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a 2019 New York budget implementing the provisions of S-7848A (the “Budget”). Beyond the obligations created by S-7848A, which we summarized in a previous post, the Budget also obligates New York employers to: (i) distribute a written sexual harassment policy; and (ii) perform annual sexual … Continue Reading

New York City Council Enacts Package of Bills to Combat Sexual Harassment

On Wednesday April 11, 2018, the New York City Council enacted a package of eleven bills, collectively titled the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act (the “Act”). The Act awaits final signature from the Mayor. Introduced to the New York City Council just one month ago, the Act was likely inspired by the #metoo movement … Continue Reading

Bill Banning Confidential Settlements and Mandatory Arbitration for Sexual Harassment Claims Passes New York Senate

On March 12, 2018, the New York State Senate passed S-7848A, a bill that, if enacted, would significantly change the legislative landscape for sexual harassment claims in the state. Most notably, S-7848A would: (i) prohibit mandatory arbitration agreements for sexual harassment complaints; (ii) ban confidential sexual harassment settlements unless the confidentiality provision is separately considered … Continue Reading

Judges and Legislators in Chicago and California Seek to Expand Protections for Hotel Workers

In the wake of a deluge of sexual harassment accusations being leveled against high profile figures, and the ensuing #MeToo social media movement, some legislators and judges have been eager to expand protections for certain individuals they see as particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and assault, including hotel workers.… Continue Reading

California Employers: Get Ready for New FEHC Regulations Effective April 1st

As most California employers know, the complex web of laws that govern employment in the state is vast and ever-expanding.  It just got more complicated.  The Fair Employment and Housing Council (“FEHC”) has issued new anti-discrimination and anti-harassment regulations that most California employers must comply with.  The new regulations will go into effect April 1, … Continue Reading

New Year, New Rules for Employers Doing Business in New York

This past year the New York legislature and New York Department of Labor amended several employment laws implementing changes that are set to take effect at the end of 2015 or in early 2016. This update summarizes the new and updated legal requirements imposed by those amendments to help New York employers prepare and comply … Continue Reading

Supreme Court of New Jersey Adopts Faragher/Ellerth Affirmative Defense

On February 11, 2015, the Supreme Court of New Jersey expressly adopted the test created by the United States Supreme Court in Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775, 807 (1998) and Burlington Indus., Inc. v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 742, 765 (1998). The Faragher/Ellerth defense provides an employer with an affirmative defense to … Continue Reading

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

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 requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide at least two hours of harassment prevention training to supervisory employees … Continue Reading

Reminder: New York Interns Are Now Protected Under Both the State and City Human Rights Laws

Following New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio’s endorsement of an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) extending the statute’s anti-discrimination and harassment protections to interns earlier this year (as reported here), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed into law similar legislation modifying the New York State Human Rights Law … Continue Reading

Proposed New York Law Would Extend State Anti-Discrimination Protections to Unpaid Interns

A new bill introduced in the New York State Senate would extend many of the protections of the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) to unpaid interns.  Among other things, the bill would make it illegal for employers to “refuse to hire, employ or to discriminate against an intern” based on any of the … Continue Reading

New York Appeals Court Applies Liberal Standard in Reinstating a Sex Bias Claim Under the City Human Rights Law

In a recent decision from the Appellate Division, First Department, a unanimous panel reinstated claims asserted by three plaintiffs under the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”). The plaintiffs in Hernandez, et al. v. Kaisman, 957 N.Y.S.2d 53 (N.Y. App. Div. 2012) claimed they were subjected to a hostile work environment in violation of … Continue Reading

Title VII’s Anti-Retaliation Provisions Protect Employee’s Answers To Sexual Harassment Investigator’s Questions

In Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville et al., the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that an employee is protected by the anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1963 even when the employee has not filed a formal charge or complaint against the employer. This case serves as a … Continue Reading

Court Upholds Unequal Wage Suit Based Upon Unfair And Unequal Shift Assignments Brought By Female Server At Manhattan Restaurant

On July 21, 2008, Justice Carol Robinson Edmead of the New York County Supreme Court denied a motion to dismiss a claim for unequal compensation brought against the owners, operators and several individual employees of Cipriani restaurant in Manhattan by a female server.  Torres v. Vittoria Corp., 114667-07 (N.Y. Sup., July 21, 2008).  The Torres … Continue Reading
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