The 30th anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA,” for short) was July 26, 2020. To commemorate this milestone, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) published a separate webpage with links to useful resources for workers and employees (as well as proactive, responsible employers). One particularly useful page lists what the EEOC considers important
"We are at a societal turning point when it comes to sexual misconduct in the workplace. As we see, and will continue to see, prominent men and women stepping forward with their stories of harassment, assault, and abuse of power, please consider entrusting me with your own. I have spent years fighting on behalf of large corporations and will put that knowledge and skill set to work on your behalf. Whether as a counselor, a confidential sounding board, or an attorney fighting for you in administrative and court proceedings, rest assured your experience will be taken seriously by myself and my office. We can find a solution, together."
It is a pretty safe bet that, until there is a workable, widely distributed vaccine, better treatments for COVID-19, or both, our lives—including our work lives—will not go back to any semblance of normalcy. It also doesn’t take much imagination to predict that remote or teleworking (for office-type jobs) will remain widely available after the…
To state the obvious: yes, sexual harassment is not limited to men harassing women and yes, same sex harassment exists. Perhaps it is rarer, but it does happen. What almost certainly happens less often in 2020 than in prior decades—given the prevalence of corporate anti-discrimination policies, trainings, HR personnel and an increased cultural awareness—is brazen, unapologetic harassment, compounded by retaliatory termination. But that is what the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleges occurred in a lawsuit it filed on behalf of a terminated employee in central Florida in July.
And, since harassment is usually more subtle and less egregious than that alleged in this EEOC lawsuit, the lawsuit might be a good case study, a blueprint, a same sex sexual harassment archetype of the type of conduct employers must vigorously seek to prevent and avoid.
The complaint can be found here.
The EEOC alleges that Defendant Shelley’s Septic Tank (“Shelley’s”) and its owner, Mr. David Shelley, employed Richard Colon as a truck driver from February 2017 until May 2018. According to the EEOC, Shelley subjected Mr. Colon to a sexually hostile work environment, both through comments and physical contact.
The “unwelcome, sexually charged comments”, included Mr. Shelley:
- calling Mr. Colon “buttercup” near daily;
- calling Mr. Colon “pretty” after he shaved or trimmed his beard; and
- “plac[ing] his hands in a diamond around his penis and [telling] Mr. Colon to ‘back up to this’.”
The EEOC also alleged Mr. Shelley engaged in “unwelcome, sexual conduct and physical contact” against Mr. Colon, including:
- “stroking Mr. Colon’s arms and leg”;
- “blowing kisses at Mr. Colon”;
- “on one occasion, [using] a stick to poke Mr. Colon between his butt cheeks;” and
- On one day “grabb[ing] Mr. Colon’s buttocks over his clothes and [running] his finger between Mr. Colon’s butt cheeks.”
It occurs to me that a more positive, not-everything-is-bad post is in order. My past posts have addressed the employee-employer imbalance of power, advocated an end to mandatory arbitration, and criticized the Senate version of the proposed, revised Congressional Accountability Act. However, progress has nonetheless been made these past months (at least I think so)…
As the #metoo movement continues to ripple through our society, public and private companies are scrambling to update their sexual harassment policies.
Our Lawmakers didn’t want to be left out of the we-hear-you lovefest and, this February, passed what many observers consider a wide-ranging revision of the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act. The…
De todas las ventajas que los empleadores tienen sobre las víctimas de acoso sexual laboral, quizás ninguna de ellas se iguala al poder que tienen los empleadores a obligar a los empleados que son víctimas de acoso sexual, a someterse al arbitraje y renuciar al derecho que tienen de presentar una demanda, ya sea en…
So, the last time I discussed the 15 Key Steps employers should take, according to AllBusiness.com, to respond to sexual harassment claims, I mentioned “lawyering up” and being “fair” (as well as, perhaps more importantly, “appearing fair.”)
Minimizing access to information
I want to pick up with one theme I briefly touched upon…
Of the many advantages employers have over victims of sexual harassment, perhaps none matches the power to compel victims to arbitrate, for them to forgo the opportunity of a lawsuit in state or federal court.
Sidebar: if you don’t know, arbitration is a kind of private court, where one (or more) arbitrators act as quasi…
If you want to get a flavor for how employers around the country are responding to the #metoo movement, with its accompanying increase in reported incidents of sexual harassment at work, look no further than these 15 steps provided by an employment attorney to AllBusiness.com
To be fair, some of these steps (if performed in…