Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: More Complicated Than You Think

It’s been a long time since sexual harassment was only about the boss chasing the secretary around the desk behind closed doors. Today, sexual harassment claims take on many faces, and many sources of liability. Here are a few insights from lawyers on JD Supra regarding the complicated issue of sexual harassment in the workplace:

Sexual Harassment (by Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck )

“Title VII prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. Generally, there are two types of sexual harassment that are illegal under Title VII: (1) “Quid Pro Quo” harassment…and (2) “Hostile Work Environment” harassment.” Read more »

What Do Your Work Emails Say About Your Tolerance For Sexual Harassment? (by Fox Rothschild )

“Many of us have received emails at work from friends and colleagues that contain sexual metaphors, double entendres and innuendo, shamelessly intended to amuse us at the expense of our morality. But, before you open that next “you have to see this” email: beware! Those emails may be used against you in court if you ever file a sexual harassment claim against your employer.” Read more »

Sexual Harassment Claims May Arise from the Conduct of Non-Employees (by Poyner Spruill LLP ) 

“The enforcement of such policies helps employers avoid liability for sexual harassment claims based on employee misconduct, but employers should also be mindful of the conduct of third parties in the workplace. Failing to respond to sexual harassment complaints about the behavior of third parties could result in exposure to sexual harassment claims just as surely as unanswered complaints about employee misconduct, as demonstrated by a lawsuit recently filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against a home health care business.” Read more »

The True Cost of Sexual Harassment at Work (by Brian Mahany )

Think a sexual harassment claim is just about money? Thank again! Read more »

5 Signs that your Sexual Harassment Case May be a Dog (by Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP )

“The accused is a member of management and has admitted to the harassment, OR he hasn’t admitted it, but you are pretty sure he’s guilty. This one is obvious. Maybe he didn’t admit to sending that picture on Twitter, but he can’t say “with certitude” that it’s not him. Whatever. He’s probably guilty, and even if he isn’t, you’re going to have a hard time persuading the EEOC, a judge, or a jury that it didn’t happen. If you have an admission, or just a terrible feeling in your gut that won’t go away, your case may be a dog.”  Read more »

Flying the Not So Friendly Skies – A New Kind of Sexual Harassment? (by Mark Chumley

Do the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA)controversial new screening procedures expose employers whose employees fly on commercial airlines to claims of sexual harassment? Interesting new twist on an ever-expanding range of liability. Read more »

Can You be Sexually Harassed Behind Your Back? (by Drew Capuder )

“The Fourth Circuit didn’t have much difficulty reaching the conclusion that, for any claim alleging a hostile work environment (including sexual harassment), you can’t succeed if all of work.” Read more »

Does Bankruptcy Discharge Sexual Harassment Debts? (by Ruskin Moscou Faltischek )

“According to In re Busch, a bankruptcy court decision from the Northern District of New York, even if the employer files for bankruptcy relief for the primary purpose of discharging the judgment, the plaintiff judgment creditor may be left in the cold. In fact, it may well be impossible for the harassment victim to claim exemption from discharge under Bankruptcy Code §523(a)(6).” Read more»

Romance At Work (by Robert Haurin )

“It’s amazing how active Cupid is in the workplace and not just on Valentine’s Day. Romance is alive and well in the world of work. Focusing my practice in the employment area, the stories I have heard run the gamut of romantic activity from the tame to the outrageous – all at work. For the individuals involved, this mix – though delightful – can and often does turn into a perilous activity on all counts – professionally, emotionally and as a legal matter. The highest risk for all involved, including the employer, likely will be from the fallout when the romantic involvement ends.” Read more »

Regional Considerations

Defining the Contours of Individual Liability Under the NJLAD for Aiding and Abetting Sexual Harassment (by Cole Schotz )

“Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination an employee’s supervisor may not be held individually liable for sexual harassment of an employee, even if the supervisor is aware of the harassment, unless the supervisor has “aided and abetted” the sexual harassment…” Read more »

Illinois now toughest State for Employers / Sexual Harassment Claims (by Gregory Stobbe, J.D., SPHR )

“On April 16, 2009, The Illinois Supreme Court in the decision of Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department v. Illinois Human Rights Commission, expanded the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), finding that an employer is strictly liable for a supervisory employee’s harassment of an employee, even where no direct supervisory relationship exists.” Read more »

Ten Things You Need to Know About Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training in California (by Sedgwick LLP )

“Employers in the live entertainment business must comply with the law of the workplace in every state in which they operate. California, Connecticut and Maine currently have statutes mandating that employers train their managers on preventing workplace harassment, particularly sexual harassment.” Read more »