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Verrill Dana, LLP

Verrill Dana, LLP is one of New England's preeminent regional law firms. With offices in Portland and Augusta, ME; Boston, MA; Westport, CT; Providence, RI; and Washington D.C. Verrill Dana provides sophisticated legal representation to businesses and individuals in the traditional areas of litigation, real estate, business law, labor and employment law, employee benefits, environmental law, intellectual property and estate planning.  The Firm also has industry-focused specialties including higher education, health care and health technology, energy, and timberlands. 

Disclaimer:  The content presented in this blog is for general information only, is not intended to constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any person as legal advice. While we welcome you to contact our blog authors at hrlawupdate@verrilldana.com, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 

Entries in Harassment (6)

Wednesday
Jan182017

EEOC's Five Core Principles for Preventing and Addressing Harassment

Last week the EEOC released proposed Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment with a Press Release noting that the proposed Guidance is available for input until February 9, 2017.  Information on how to provide feedback on the Guidance is available here.  Whether one chooses to provide feedback or not, however, the proposed Guidance and related documents are filled with helpful information.

The Press Release notes that between fiscal years 2012 and 2015, the “percentage of private sector charges that included allegations of harassment increased” annually to over 30% of all charges filled with the EEOC.  In fiscal year 2015 alone, the EEOC received 27,893 private sector charges that included allegations of harassment while federal employees filed 6,741 complaints.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct312016

EEOC’s 2017-2021 Initiatives Announced

The EEOC has posted its Strategic Enforcement Plan for Fiscal Years 2017-2021.  Included in the substantive priorities:

  1. Eliminating Barriers in Recruitment and Hiring.
  2. Protecting Vulnerable Workers, Including Immigrant and Migrant Workers, and Underserved Communities from Discrimination.
  3. Addressing Selected Emerging and Developing Issues.
  4. Ensuring Equal Pay Protections for All Workers.
  5. Preserving Access to the Legal System.
  6. Preventing Systemic Harassment.

More on all six of these initiatives can be found here. Within the “Preserving Access to the Legal System,” initiative, the EEOC notes it will focus on: “1) overly broad waivers, releases, and mandatory arbitration provisions (e.g., waivers or releases that limit substantive rights, deter or prohibit filing charges with EEOC, or deter or prohibit providing information to assist in the investigation or prosecution of discrimination claims);

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Thursday
Mar102016

Let’s Talk about Sex(ual Orientation) Lawsuits under Federal Law

The last few weeks have been filled with filings and decisions in federal courts across the country regarding sexual orientation as a basis for a Title VII lawsuit. On March 1, 2016, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) filed its first sexual orientation discrimination claims in Pittsburg and Baltimore alleging that two different companies unlawfully discriminated against individuals based on their sexual orientation. The lawsuits are brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which prohibits the discrimination by employers against employees on account of their race, religion, sex or national origin. That’s right, sexual orientation is not listed as a protected class under Title VII.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan062016

Refusal of Employee’s Request for “Peaceful Calm Environment” Does Not Constitute Failure to Accommodate Under the ADA

Last week Judge Joseph N. Laplante of the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire issued a decision in Posteraro v. RBS Citizens, N.A., Civil No. 13-cv-416 (D.N.H. Dec. 29, 2015), on Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment. The case involved a former Citizens Bank employee who was terminated from Citizens Bank after failing to return to work after a leave of absence for her medical conditions—post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), depression, and anxiety. Ms. Posteraro brought claims for disability discrimination (for failure to provide a reasonable accommodation); sexual and disability harassment causing a hostile work environment (including allegations that her tenure at Citizens Bank was “rife with gender and disability-based harassment”); intentional infliction of emotional distress; wrongful discharge; retaliation (after she opposed the alleged sexual harassment and pursued accommodations for her disabilities); and constructive discharge.

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Wednesday
Jul152015

Watch Out Employers: Complaints to Harassing Supervisor = Protected Activity

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals just potentially opened up a big ole can of employer liability.

In EEOC v. New Breed Logistics, the Court affirmed its prior decision that for purposes of a retaliation claim, a complaint to a supervisor that he stop his sexually harassing conduct – even if no other manager or supervisor ever learns of the complaint – constitutes protected activity under Title VII. The opinion recognized that other courts have concluded that a complaint directed solely to a harassing supervisor does not constitute protected activity - and rejected it, holding that if “the other elements of a prima facie case are present, a harassment claim only becomes a retaliation claim if, after the harassee opposes the harassment, the harasser initiates adverse action against the victim. Thus, giving retaliation victims protection where they complain to the harasser will not morph all harassment claims into a retaliation claim, absent some materially adverse action.”

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Wednesday
Jul012015

Connecticut Public Act no. 15-56: "An Act Protecting Interns from Workplace Harassment and Discrimination"

On June 19, 2015, Governor Dannel P. Malloy (D) signed legislation that prohibits Connecticut employers from discriminating against or sexually harassing any unpaid interns. Public Act No. 15-56, makes clear that unpaid interns—while not technically considered employees under Connecticut law—are to be afforded the same protections from discrimination and sexual harassment as all paid employees. The law defines “intern” and identifies the prohibited conduct. In passing this legislation, Connecticut joins a number of other states, including Oregon, New York, Illinois and California, who have adopted similar laws affording protection to unpaid interns. The law becomes effective on October 1, 2015.