Rumors About Sleeping With Her Boss Nets One Employee A Viable Sexual Harassment Claim

In today's #MeToo age, it is hard not to know that sexual harassment is wrong and illegal.  This recent case of unlawful sexual harassment comes with an admittedly unexpected lens.  Rumors that a female employee is "sleeping her way to the top" is the latest version of prohibited sexual harassment in workplace.  While endless movies, TV shows and real life certainly contain examples of others discussing by the proverbial water cooler how so-and-so...
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Losing Out On Voluntary Overtime Chances Can Be Tangible, Adverse Action.

Employers are by now well-versed in the concept that under Title VII, an employer is strictly liable for a supervisor's harassment when the harassment results in a tangible employment action.  The obvious employment actions include termination, demotion, failure to promote, reassignment with significantly different responsibilities, etc.  The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Ray v. International Paper Co., No. 17-2241 (4th Cir. 2018), added to...
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Male Employee's Sexual Comments to Male Coworker Sufficient to Send Harassment Claim to Jury

Sometimes I read cases that make me realize how boring and uneventful my worklife is compared to the workplaces we read about as employment lawyers and mediators (and that is a good thing).  A recent decision from the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia  drove that point home yet again. In Funk v. MWX Technologies, Inc., No. 6:16-cv-53 (W.D. Va. 8/22/18), Terry Trent and Perry Funk were male co-workers.  According to...
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First Circuit Holds University's Response To Sex Harassment Is Retaliation

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
08/15/2018
Now more than ever, employers are aware of their obligation to take prompt remedial action in response to complaints of sex harassment.  But what happens when the employer’s attempt to placate a complainant through voluntary transfer results in less favorable work conditions?  Well, now the complainant has a cause of action for retaliation, explained the First Circuit in Carlson v. Univ. of New England, No. 17-1792 (1st Cir. 8/10/18). In this...
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Not Just “Meat Counter Culture”: When Same-Sex Harassment Violates Title VII

Most of the time, the stories of workplace sexual harassment we hear about consist of conduct occurring between men and women.  Yet Title VII’s ban on discrimination because of sex encompasses same-sex harassment in the workplace as well.  Such was the lesson learned for a Chicago, Illinois grocery store that had justified the harassment of a male butcher as mere “meat counter culture” in Smith v. Rosebud Farm, Inc., Case No. 17-2626,...
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Maryland Enacts “Disclosing Sexual Harassment In The Workplace Act of 2018”

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
05/30/2018
On May 15, 2018, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed into law the "Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018" (“Act”). The Act, which can be found here, goes into effect on October 1, 2018, and sunsets without any further action on June 30, 2023. The Act, which is codified at Md. Code Ann., Labor & Employment § 3-715, adds two requirements to current Maryland labor and employment law.  First, the Act declares that any...
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Maryland General Assembly Strengthens Internal Sex Harassment Rules

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
04/13/2018
The Maryland General Assembly ended its session this week with approval of House Bill 1342, legislation aimed at strengthening policies for the investigation and resolution of sexual harassment complaints involving members of the State lawmaking community.  The Bill is designated emergency legislation.  If Governor Hogan signs as expected, it will become effective immediately. A report released earlier this year by the Maryland Women’s Caucus...
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Maryland General Assembly Considering Bills Aimed At Workplace Sexual Harassment

Maryland’s House and Senate have passed competing versions of legislation that would ban employment agreement that limit rights to sue for future claims of sexual harassment. Senate Bill 1010 -- the "Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018" -- would make void any provision in an employment contract, policy, or agreement that waives any substantive or procedural right or remedy to a future claim of sexual harassment or...
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Maryland Senate President: A “Women Only” Commission on Harassment. Really?

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
01/12/2018
This from the Baltimore Sun’s Legislative Reporter Erin Cox (who does excellent work reporting from Annapolis) on the first day of the session:  “Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said Wednesday that the General Assembly will create a ‘powerful’ new commission to recommend how the legislature should root out sexual harassment in its ranks. “Miller said he and House Speaker Michael E. Busch will create the panel, which Miller said...
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Sexual Harassment, Holiday Parties, Handbooks, and other End-of-Year Musings

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
11/29/2017
I do not think a day has passed since Harvey Weinstein's ouster that we don't learn about a new public figure-newscaster-actor-politician-other notable name who has been accused of sexual harassment (or similar behavior) and lost his job.  Today, I woke to news of Matt Lauer's termination from NBC.  A few moments ago I received an email advising that Garrison Keillor has been accused of inappropriate behavior and that Minnesota Public Radio will be...
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