“Paramour Preference” Is Not a Title VII Violation, says Ninth Circuit

When I lectured on sex discrimination and harassment to my law school students, I’d pose the following question:  “does the person who didn’t (consensually) date the boss and who then didn’t get promoted have a claim for discrimination or harassment?  No?  But what if I just never got the chance to date them?  I mean, I would have been willing to do so if I’d known that might help me advance or keep my job.”  While some students...
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Maryland District Court Permits Claim Alleging Supervisor Harassment

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
11/10/2020
Last Friday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland reminded us all about the importance of preventing workplace harassment and especially harassment by supervisors and managers.  In Rosinbum v. Azar, No. TDC-19-3119 (Nov. 6, 2020), the Court found that a former FDA research fellow sufficiently alleged claims of discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment under Title VII. The bulk of the Court’s opinion recites...
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Montgomery County, Maryland Lowers Bar To Prove Workplace Harassment

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
10/27/2020
On October 6, 2020, the County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland enacted Bill 14-20, which effectively lowers the standard of proof for workplace harassment cases by rejecting the “severe or pervasive” standard applicable to state and federal claims. The new county legislation defines “harassment” as “verbal, written, or physical conduct, whether or not the conduct would be considered sufficiently severe or pervasive under...
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D.C. Laws To Take Effect on Workplace Postings and Notices, and Sexual Harassment Training and Reporting

Before we get into the new requirements, some legislative history is warranted.  In 2018, the District of Columbia passed the Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act, designed to, among other things, repeal an initiative that would have eliminated the tip credit system in D.C.  That 2018 law mandated local government funding before several provisions of the statute could be implemented that include the postings and sexual harassment training...
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Maryland Employers Required to Report Sex Harassment Settlements By July 1st

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
06/06/2020
n May 2018, my colleague Randi Hyatt posted about the “Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018” (“Act”).  The Act went into effect on October 1, 2018 and has a sunset provision for June 30, 2023.  The Act established the requirement for employers with at least 50 employees (at all locations, not exclusively working in Maryland) to submit a survey to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (“MCCR”) regarding...
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NLRB Reverses Course on Legality of Investigation Gag Orders

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
12/19/2019
Employers have a legitimate interest in investigating allegations of employee misconduct.  It seems obvious that a certain amount of confidentiality is required to maintain the integrity of those workplace investigations.  Otherwise, investigations may be hindered.  Parties may be coached or discuss ahead of time what they will say, accusers may openly discuss complaints and try to influence others to provide corroboration, employees...
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Supervisor’s Hugs & Kisses Were Assault & Battery, Were Not Harassment Under Title VII

A federal court in Virginia recently found that a former employee of the Department of Veterans Services (DVS) presented enough evidence that her supervisor’s hugs and kisses comprised an assault and battery against her, but not enough to establish sexual harassment or hostile work environment under Title VII.  Back v. Commonwealth of Virginia, et al., No. 7:17-cv-00477 (W.D. Va. 11/27/19). Back worked as a Veterans Services Representative...
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Transgender Employee Succeeds on Hostile Work Environment Claim

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
07/12/2019
Although the Supreme Court has yet to opine on the issue, many jurisdictions interpret Title VII as encompassing discrimination because of gender identity (and/or sexual orientation) as discrimination because of sex. Such was the case for a former transgender corrections officer for the Arizona Department of Corrections (“ADOC”).  John Doe v. State of Arizona, No. CV-18-00384-PHX-GMS (D. Ariz. 7/8/19). Mr. John Doe, a transgender male,...
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Southern District of New York Sends Sexual Harassment Claim To Arbitration

Vincent Jackson
Vincent Jackson
07/01/2019
A trial judge in the Southern District of New York found that a sexual harassment claim was subject to a mandatory arbitration clause, even though a New York law recently enacted in the wake of the #MeToo movement nullified agreements to arbitrate sexual harassment claims. Latif v. Morgan Stanley, et al., 18-cv-11528-DLC (S.D.N.Y. June 26, 2019). In Latif, a male employee of Morgan Stanley alleged in his federal court complaint that he was sexually...
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Some Fun Facts About The EEOC's 2018 Charge Data

The EEOC released its 2018 charge statistics earlier this week.  Here are three key pieces of information to consider: Charge filings have decreased.  In 2018, the EEOC processed 76,418 charges, which represents more than a 9% decrease from 2017, a nearly 17% decrease from 2016, and a 23.5% decreased from the all-time high year of charge filings in 2010 (99,922 charges).   Because charge filings tend to flow with the relative strength of the...
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