The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) decided that an employer’s workplace investigations policy, which recommends employees keep an internal investigation confidential, violated the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) because it interfered with employees' rights to communicate regarding matters affecting terms and conditions of employment. The ruling creates a quandary for employers to maintain effective workplace investigation policies and practices including confidentiality statements in anti-harassment policies.
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An effective anti-harassment policy has long been recognized as a key component to an employer’s avoidance of liability for allegations of sexual, racial, or other harassment under New Jersey law. The New Jersey Appellate Division in Dunkley v. S. Coraluzzo Petroleum Transporters recently reinforced this fact, and the decision provides a helpful reminder to employers that adopting clear anti-harassment policies, providing regular training to its workforce, and immediately addressing allegations of harassment/discrimination once presented, are important factors that may help them avoid liability for the conduct of employees who violate such policies.… Continue Reading
Does your company conduct internal investigations? If so, you should be asking yourself these four crucial questions:… Continue Reading
The Second Circuit, in a case of first impression, ruled that an employee is not protected against retaliation prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII") for participating in an investigation of sexual harassment conducted by an employer before a charge of discrimination has been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Although under Title VII, employers are duty-bound to appropriately remedy discrimination and harassment in the workplace uncovered by such investigation, employers in the Second Circuit can breathe a modest sigh of relief that a negative employment action affecting an employee who claims protection under Title VII based on "participating" in an investigation following an internal complaint is not actionable.… Continue Reading
The adoption and enforcement of a policy regarding consensual workplace relationships is essential for all employers. With the American workforce spending at least one-third of their lives at work, it is inevitable that some employees will engage in romantic and sexual relationships with one another. A recent case in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Lucchesi v. Day & Zimmerman Group, reinforces that such relationships may have business and legal costs. While employers cannot prevent these relationships from forming or ending, they can take steps to manage their effect on the workplace and to reduce the potential liability stemming from them. A well-drafted policy is a critical first step.… Continue Reading
An effective anti-harassment policy has long been recognized as a key component to an employer's avoidance of liability for sexual harassment. As the New Jersey Appellate Division recently made clear, however, the mere existence of such a policy is insufficient to insulate an employer from liability for its employee's sexually harassing conduct. Though an unpublished decision, Allen v. Adecco, Inc., 2001 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 197 (App. Div. Jan. 27, 2011), provides a powerful reminder that to protect an employer from liability, an anti-harassment policy must be widely publicized, supported by training, and routinely enforced. Indeed, in Allen, although the employer promptly investigated plaintiff's harassment claim and took prompt remedial action, the court ruled that the employer might still be held accountable if the harassment could have been prevented in the first place but for the employer's alleged insufficient publication and training with regard to its anti-harassment policies.… Continue Reading