Disabled Student’s Inappropriate Touching Did Not Create a Hostile Work Environment

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
08/02/2022
In a recent decision, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals considered the difficult circumstances in which special education teacher often operate and how that environment can intersect with protections against workplace discrimination and harassment.  The case, according to the court, brought “to light the difficult balance that schools must find between ensuring that all students have access to a public school education while simultaneously...
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Kiss, Hugs, and Rude Comments Not Enough for Viable Sex Harassment Claim

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
06/28/2022
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) makes it unlawful for an employer to “discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s . . . sex.”  42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1).  Title VII’s prohibitions cover sex-based harassment that is “sufficiently severe or pervasive” such that it amounts to an actual change in an individual’s...
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Attorney’s Participation in Sexual Harassment Investigation Waives Attorney-Client Privilege

Communications between an attorney and its clients are privileged, and must not be shared in discovery.  However, when that privilege is waived, communications between a client and the attorney lose their protection and become discoverable.  That is what a U.S. District Court Judge concluded in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. In Jennifer Berry Brown v. Town of Front Royal, VA, Civil Action...
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Maryland Senate Bill Changing Definition of Sexual Harassment “Crosses Over” to House of Delegates

Monday, March 21, 2022, was “crossover day” in the Maryland General Assembly.  As a quick Maryland civics lesson, the Maryland General Assembly is comprised of two chambers, the Maryland State Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates.  Bills are proposed and debated in both chambers.  On crossover day, those bills that have passed by vote in one chamber are crossed over to the other chamber for further debate and vote.  Any bills that did...
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Congress on Cusp of Barring Arbitration for Employee Sexual Harassment Claims

Vincent Jackson
Vincent Jackson
02/10/2022
In response to the #MeToo Movement, Congress is on the cusp of passing bipartisan legislation that would prohibit employers from using forced arbitration to resolve claims of workplace sexual harassment and sexual assault.  Though the final bill has not yet been presented for the President’s signature, drafts of the bill have passed both the House and the Senate.  The ban on mandatory arbitration in employment contracts marks a sea change in how...
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“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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