Before 2018 wrapped up, the year of the #MeToo movement, the Delaware and Philadelphia legislatures worked to ensure the passage of employee-friendly legislation. While Delaware’s new law focuses on sexual harassment, Philadelphia has turned its focus on the work schedules for those employed in service industries. Delaware, like many other states in 2018, passed legislation to strengthen workplace harassment laws. The legislation was signed into law in August 2018, and went into effect on January 1, 2019. Delaware’s Discrimination in Employment Act has now been amended to include provisions specifically dedicated to sexual harassment that apply to employers with at least four employees in the state. It should be noted that Delaware’s law includes unpaid interns, applicants, joint employees and apprentices within its definition of employee. In addition to defining sexual harassment, the law provides that employers will be liable for sexual harassment if: (1) A supervisor’s sexual harassment results in a negative employment action of an employee; (2) The employer knew or should have known of a non-supervisory employee’s sexual harassment of an employee and failed to take appropriate corrective measures; or (3) A negative employment action is taken against an employee in retaliation for the employee filing a...
Tagged: Sexual Harassment Policy
In 2018, employers in New York encountered several important changes, including in the areas of anti-harassment and scheduling, warranting a Fall review of current employment practices and preparation for next year’s developments. Employers should take the time now to review current practices and prepare for the imminent future. NEW YORK CITY’S TEMPORARY SCHEDULE CHANGE LAW New York City’s Temporary Schedule Change Law (“TSC Law”) became effective July 18, 2018, and requires private employers to provide eligible employees with an allowance of a “temporary change” to their usual work schedule for certain qualifying “personal events” for up to two occasions per year (i.e., one business day twice per year or two business days on one occasion). Eligible employees are those who work at least 80 hours a year in New York City and have been employed by their employer for 120 or more days, with limited exceptions, including employees covered by collective bargaining agreements waiving the law. Temporary schedule changes may include paid time off, use of short-term unpaid leave, permission to work remotely, or working hour swaps or shifts. Qualifying “personal events” include: (a) an employee’s need to: (i) care for a minor child or care recipient (i.e., a person...
The New York City Council recently passed the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act (“NYC Act”), a series of bills that address sexual harassment prevention in the workplace. Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the legislation into law in the near future. The passage of the NYC Act coincides with the signing of the 2018-2019 New York State Budget (“the Bill”), which includes comprehensive and significant changes to State anti-harassment laws described as “necessary to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.” STOP SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN NYC ACT Mandatory Anti-Harassment Training The NYC Act would require employers (with 15 or more employees including interns) to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training beginning on April 1, 2019 for all employees, including supervisors and managers. The training is required for all employees who work more than 80 hours in a calendar year and for new employees within 90 days of hire. The training must cover a range of topics, including a statement that harassment is a form of discrimination under state and federal law; a description of sexual harassment (including examples of what constitutes harassment); internal complaint procedures for an employee to make a harassment complaint; information about the complaint process under...
With summer around the corner, it is a good time for a refresher on legal implications when hiring interns. Specifically, when must interns be paid and what other legal protections do interns have? Wage and Hour Issues – As has been widely publicized in recent years, a number of companies who utilize unpaid interns have found themselves the object of lawsuits. It is thus important for companies to make an informed decision on the compensation issue before the hiring process begins.
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.
New Jersey Appellate Division Decision Stresses Importance of Meaningful Anti-Harassment Policy and Training
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.
Does your company conduct internal investigations? If so, you should be asking yourself these four crucial questions: Is the right person conducting the investigation? Is the investigation thorough? Is it taking too long? Is the company following through? Click here to read more about these important internal investigation concerns in an article recently written by Kelly Ann Bird and published by The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel.
Employee Participation in Internal Investigation Not Covered by Anti-Retaliation Provision of Title VII, According to Second Circuit
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.
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.
New Jersey Appellate Division Holds that Anti-Harassment Policy Alone Cannot Shield Employers from Liability
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.