Total Planetary Alignment. Halley’s Comet. A Full Solar Eclipse. Texas Enacting Heightened Employee Protections Beyond Federal Law.

What are “things that rarely happen in your lifetime?”

In Texas, the general rule is that employee-facing legal protections overlap with—and extend no further than—its federal counterparts. But newly-enacted state legislation concerning workplace sexual harassment has bucked that trend.


Continue Reading New Texas Law Expands Employee Rights and Employer Liability for Sexual Harassment Claims

On June 26, 2019, Southern District of New York Judge Denise Cote granted a motion to compel arbitration of a plaintiff’s sexual harassment claims finding that the New York State prohibition on mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). As we mentioned in our blog upon this law’s enactment, the United States Supreme Court has routinely held that state laws expressly identifying a category of non-arbitrable state law claims are preempted by the FAA. In Latif v. Morgan Stanley & Co., the Southern District followed the Supreme Court and found the New York ban on mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims unenforceable.
Continue Reading Southern District of New York Invalidates State Ban on Mandatory Arbitration of Harassment and Discrimination

Last August, 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 emergency contact devices, referred to as “panic buttons,” may be used to summon help if the employee reasonably believes that an ongoing crime, sexual harassment, sexual assault or other emergency is occurring in the employee’s presence. The Chicago ordinance took effect July 1, 2018.
Continue Reading “Panic Button” Laws Make Their Way Across The U.S.

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 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 and consented to by the complainant; (iii) create a statutory definition of “sexual harassment”; and (iv) expand state-law protections against sexual harassment to independent contractors.
Continue Reading Bill Banning Confidential Settlements and Mandatory Arbitration for Sexual Harassment Claims Passes New York Senate