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OBSCENE & UNWELCOME

Watch for harassment by emoji in your office

By Lynne Curry “How much trouble are we in?” the office administrator asked. I looked at the sheaf of text and Slack messages, loaded with emojis, and stopped on one sent in early March that asked, “Good to know you’re almost done with the project and headed for the weekend. Do you garden?” flanked by an eggplant emoji. Other texts included peaches, dump trucks, sweat droplets, and smiley faces with tongues sticking out. “How did you get these?” I asked. “An employee resigned, refused to come in for an exit interview, and sent these in the mail.” “Did you notice the recipient of the gardening question responded, ‘stop, just stop!” “No, these were just informal texts going back and forth between coworkers and employees and their supervisor. I don’t use… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Harassment continues in era of remote work

By Mike O’Brien  In the early days of the pandemic, there was speculation that workplace harassment would decrease when so many workers shifted to remote work. Some recent surveys indicate that hasn’t been the case, and that incidents of harassment have been increasing. Possible reasons for this spike include the stress of the pandemic, the fact that remote workers may lack the kind of personal connections with colleagues that might otherwise hinder poor behavior and a more casual approach to conversations due to working in a more relaxed environment. Zoom meetings have also provided a whole new forum for trouble, with employees behaving badly (sometimes while thinking they are off-camera). The quick and unexpected shift to remote workforces may also have left many employers unprepared for the challenge. To combat… . . . read more

AWAITS SIGNATURE

Forced arbitration of sexual assault and harassment coming to an end

By Mike O’Brien The United States Senate passed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act in February. The legislation had previously been approved by the House of Representatives, and now awaits President Biden’s signature. Once signed, the new law will amend the Federal Arbitration Act to make pre-dispute mandatory arbitration agreements unenforceable with respect to claims of sexual assault or sexual harassment. Rather than being required to arbitrate such claims, the employee-plaintiff will have the option to bring the case in court or before an arbitrator. The bill had broad support in both political parties. Importantly, the law does not apply to arbitration agreements for other types of employment-related claims. Employers who use mandatory arbitration agreements should consult with experienced employment law counsel about how this… . . . read more

WORKPLACE SAFETY

What #MeToo means for corporate America and why employers must continue to address sexual harassment in the workplace

The #MeToo movement brought awareness and conversation to one of the most urgent issues facing the workplace today…


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INSIGHT

Why do some get away with sexual harassment?

By Lynne Curry  bio
Harvey Weinstein. Bill Cosby. Roger Ailes. Bill O’Reilly. Uber executives. And maybe someone you know. How can these men not “get it?” How do they…


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BLOG

Employment Law Update: The Weinstein Edition

By Mike O’Brien  bio
Your news feed, like mine, has exploded with references to someone named Harvey Weinstein for the past few weeks. What’s up? Weinstein is a…


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INSIGHT

Defuzzifying dangerous company cultures

By Rex Conner  bio
Google’s recent events have called into question its company culture, and the cultures of others in Silicon Valley. The questions swirling around the company culture will…


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MANAGING THE OFFICE

8 Traps to Avoid When Investigating a Sexual Harassment Complaint

Sexual harassment is a related problem that all employers must proactively address and prevent. While most managers are well aware of the need for sexual harassment policies…


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