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, effectively shielding both the company and the alleged sexual harasser from public scrutiny.
Continue Reading #MeToo Changes the Face of Sexual Harassment Litigation for Employers

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 gatekeepers—and indeed, the gates—to disseminating content and generating popular support are being dismantled before our eyes. Nowhere over the past year was this more evident than in the #MeToo movement.
Continue Reading EEOC Data Confirms #MeToo’s Impact: Six Keys for Employers in the Wake of This Powerful Cultural Moment

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 Wave of Employment Bills Signed into Law

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 York State Publishes Updated Sexual Harassment Materials and Information

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 agreements that prevent the disclosure of acts that could be prosecuted as felony sex offenses and certain sex offenses against children.
Continue Reading New California Law Puts an End to Secret Sexual Harassment Settlements

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:

All model materials are currently in draft form, pending a comment period set to end on September 12, 2018. Therefore, all model materials are subject to change prior to the October 9, 2018 effective date. Members of the public, as well as employers and employees, are encouraged to provide comments on the new materials via this link.
Continue Reading New York State Publishes Draft Model Sexual Harassment Materials

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”) new anti-sexual harassment poster in a conspicuous place in the workplace and provide the information to employees at the time of hire. On August 10, 2018, the NYCCHR published an English-language version of the required poster, which can be found here. While the Act also requires the poster to be displayed in Spanish, the NYCCHR has yet to issue a Spanish-language version of the poster.  
Continue Reading Upcoming Deadlines For New York City Employers: New York City Commission on Human Rights Publishes Poster and Fact Sheet on Sexual Harassment

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 for each offense. Each day a violation continues is deemed a new offense.
Continue Reading Hands Off-Pants On Ordinance In Effect in Chicago; California May Be Next

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 harassment training. The full impact of the Budget on employers is detailed below.
Continue Reading Update: New York State Passes Budget, Creates New Sexual Harassment Obligations For Employers