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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 Sexual Harassment (13)

Thursday
May102018

Understanding Your Sexual Harassment Training Duties

Multiple states (and some cities) have sexual harassment requirements for certain employers.  Currently California, Connecticut, and Maine have training requirements in place and New York’s training requirement will take effect later this year.  Even if your state does not, however, require training, best practices would be to institute yearly sexual harassment training for all employees.

If you’re currently completing in house training without the use of an outside entity, or counsel, consider updating your current practices to include multiple formats of training—video, written material, quizzes, etc.  There are a multitude of publically available resources including this video, “The Coworker” produced by David Schwimmer, which can operate to start a dialogue as to what sexual harassment looks like and what aspects of the behavior—individually and collectively—is improper. [Trigger warning: this video does include examples of sexual harassment which may be disturbing to viewers.] 

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Monday
Apr092018

(PODCAST) Managing Communications in the Wake of #MeToo

Workplaces across the country are changing in response to the widespread #metoo movement. During the 8th Annual Mainebiz Women’s Leadership Forum on April 12, 2018, panelists will discuss how to manage the workplace in the wake of #metoo and the role that business leaders play in taking action to create a positive environment for their workers. Serving on the panel is Judy Katzel, Founder and President of KDK Consulting and Chief Communications and Development Officer of Catholic Charities Maine.

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Wednesday
Jan032018

What Employers Need to Know About Conducting Internal Investigations (PODCAST)

In this episode of the Verrill Voices podcast, labor and employment attorney Doug Steinmetz discusses what employers need to know when considering or conducting internal investigations. Whether the investigation is triggered by an employee conflict, sexual harassment claim, or another event, your ability to conduct an effective investigation can pay enormous dividends. In particular, as stated by Doug in the podcast, it can decrease your liability to employee lawsuits and enforcement actions by government agencies, help to identify problems with your business and their solutions, and can build credibility with your employees. 

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Thursday
Dec142017

The "Weinstein Effect" and Workers' Comp: When Sexual Harassment or Assault is a Work-Related Injury

Anyone who is even half-paying attention to the news has been reminded that, despite years of open discussion and training around the issue of appropriate behavior in the workplace, some things just haven’t changed.  There are still predators, idiots and bores among us.  As the season for office holiday parties is upon us, it occurs to the author that there are those in the audience who may not realize that a sexual harassment claim could be the foundation of a workers’ compensation injury claim. And so, here I am to enlighten or scare you, depending on your perspective.  You’re welcome.

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Thursday
Aug252016

Mass SJC: Failure to Adequately Investigate Sexual Harassment has Consequences - Hundreds of Thousands of Them

Talk about sending a message! Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court just reinstated a $540,000 jury verdict in favor of a finance manager at a Lexus dealer who alleged that her supervisor sexually harassed her and that the dealer then failed to sufficiently investigate her claims. (Slip opinion here.)

At trial, Emma Gyulakian alleged a litany of offenses conducted by her supervisor, Emmanuel Ferreira.1 The jury found for her on her sexually hostile or offensive work environment claim and awarded $40,000 in compensatory damages and a whopping $500,000 in punitives. Lexus of Watertown then filed a Motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (jnov) on the punitives award, which the trial court granted, concluding that an employer may not be vicariously liable for punitive damages under Massachusetts law based purely on the actions of its supervisory personnel, and that Gyulakian did not provide the jury with sufficient evidence of outrageous or egregious behavior by Lexus.

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Tuesday
Oct272015

Man Shows Genitals to Co-Workers: Litigation Follows (Vol. 3)

Noted legal scholar Chris Berman once stated that “once is an accident, twice is a trend, three times is a problem.” Or something like that.

At any rate, in today’s installment of the consequences of dropping trou at work, we bring you Davenport v. Nissan North America, Inc. There, Joslyne Davenport, a production assistant at a Nissan plant in Mississippi hired through Kelly Services, Inc., accused Fred Tate of exposing himself to her in September or October 2013. Tate was a line leader on Davenport’s shift, however he did not supervise her. Rather, another employee named Aaron Rodgers1 supervised both of them.

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