Washington’s New Harassment and Discrimination Laws

On June 7, 2018, new employment laws relating to non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), sexual harassment policies, and discrimination of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking victims take effect in Washington State. Here is a summary of the laws, and steps employers should take to ensure compliance with them. 1.  Non-Disclosure Agreements Substitute Senate Bill 5996 prohibits employers… Continue reading Washington’s New Harassment and Discrimination Laws

Harassment and PTSD

A manufacturer in Wyoming agreed to pay $75,000 to settle an EEOC suit alleging that a supervisor harassed an employee about his military service-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  The suit alleged that the supervisor referred to the veteran-employee by derogatory terms and ridiculed the employee’s PTSD treatments. In addition to the settlement payment, the… Continue reading Harassment and PTSD

Public Contractors Must Certify Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policies

As of January 1, 2018, prospective contractors must comply with new requirements if they wish to contract with Oregon state agencies. For contracts valued at $150,000 or more, contractors must certify in writing that they have a policy and practice of preventing sexual harassment, sexual assault and discrimination against employees who are members of a… Continue reading Public Contractors Must Certify Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policies

Best Practices for Preventing Harassment

Last year the EEOC issued Recommendations Regarding Harassment Prevention Policies and Procedures. Here are a few of the most important takeaways in the EEOC report: Employers should adopt and maintain a comprehensive anti-harassment policy (which prohibits harassment based on any protected characteristic, and which includes social media considerations). Employers should ensure that the anti-harassment policy,… Continue reading Best Practices for Preventing Harassment

EEOC Seeks Public Input on Unlawful Harassment Enforcement Guidance

On January 10, 2017, the EEOC published proposed enforcement guidance on unlawful harassment.  The guidance, designed for employers and employees, sets forth the EEOC’s views on federal harassment law, and provides explanatory examples and recommended  practices for employers to follow.  The EEOC is accepting public comment on  the proposed guidelines until February 9, 2017.  We… Continue reading EEOC Seeks Public Input on Unlawful Harassment Enforcement Guidance

Polish Jokes Not That Funny

A recent EEOC lawsuit is a reminder that teasing an employee about their ancestry may constitute national origin discrimination. In the EEOC’s complaint against Rhino Eastern, a mining company, the EEOC alleged that supervisors and other employees subjected a Polish employee to degrading and humiliating comments, taunts and slurs based on his Polish ancestry. When… Continue reading Polish Jokes Not That Funny

Does your Company use Video Surveillance Cameras?

If so, let the EEOC’s lawsuit against Davis Typewriter Company be a lesson on what not to do (or let your employees do) with your company’s security cameras. Using the EEOC’s own language, your company is likely to be sued for sexual harassment if one of your managers uses “Security Cameras to Ogle Female Subordinate’s Breasts.”… Continue reading Does your Company use Video Surveillance Cameras?

Supreme Court Narrows the Definition of “Supervisor” in Title VII Lawsuits

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Vance v. Ball State University that has significant implications for employers in cases brought under Title VII.  The Court held that an employee is a “supervisor” for purposes of vicarious liability under Title VII, only if the employee is empowered by the employer to take tangible… Continue reading Supreme Court Narrows the Definition of “Supervisor” in Title VII Lawsuits

Another Agricultural Employer in Trouble with the EEOC

Are you seeing a pattern here? Yesterday, another agricultural employer settled an EEOC lawsuit for sexual harassment. This time for $650,000. In the case, a female employee was subject to seven years of demands for sex by her supervisor coupled with unwelcome physical contact. When the employee’s co-workers complained to management about sexual harassment, they… Continue reading Another Agricultural Employer in Trouble with the EEOC

OR Agricultural Employer Settles Harassment and Retaliation Suit

From the department of bad behavior comes news of a recent settlement between an Oregon onion grower and the EEOC. The complaint alleged that a female employee was subject to five years of verbal abuse by a male supervisor, requests for sexual favors and suggestions that she should submit to beatings by her husband. The supervisor… Continue reading OR Agricultural Employer Settles Harassment and Retaliation Suit