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Harassment Archives

Common Risky Employer Mistakes in a Workplace Investigation

The need for workplace investigations usually arises suddenly and without warning. Company management receives a complaint (most commonly a sex harassment complaint or a complaint of discrimination) and often does not know how to proceed.

Expanding Title VII?

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals' landmark decision in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana (Case No. 15-1720), which established that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans discrimination on the issue of sexual orientation, may be an indication that the Courts are willing to adopt much more inclusive positions towards gay workers and may, as well, keep moving in that same direction with regard to transgender employees. It is quite clear from a review of print and social media that LGBT advocates are becoming much more aggressive in the challenging of perceived discrimination in the workplace. Clearly, the Legal Basis behind the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Decision in Hively could also be used in future Cases to widen the scope of protection for transgender workers.

Illinois Employers - Liable for Criminal Acts of Supervisors?

While the liability of employers in the State of Illinois has been expanded substantially by recent amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act and the recent decision of the US District Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in the Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana (Case No. 15-1720), which was a landmark decision holding that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, there have been few, if any, cases in which Illinois employers have had to bear the responsibility for the criminal conduct of their employees. Unfortunately, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently issued a decision (March 24, 2017) in the Case of Sherry Anicich v. Home Depot USA, Inc.; Grand Service, LLC and Grand Flower Growers, Inc. (Case No. 16-1693). The Federal Court, acting and applying Illinois law, found that the joint employers were liable for the criminal acts of a supervisor (Brian Cooper - Regional Manager) in his rape and murder of Alisha Bromfield.

Politics and Religion in the Workplace - "Backlash Discrimination" of Muslims and Middle Eastern Employees

Fear, emotionally charged perspectives on the Trump administration's immigration policy and deeply embedded religious views are all topics ripe for disagreements possibly escalating into use of slurs, threats and insults. The workplace, where many of us spend the majority of our weekdays, is one place where these agreements may percolate to a dangerous boiling point.

Employer Found Not Liable For Racial Harassment

In a February 9, 2017 Decision (Glenda Cable v. FCA US LLC, case number 16-2283), the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit located in Chicago ("the Court") found that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ("Fiat") was not liable for racial harassment.

Why It Is So Important To Train All Managers And Supervisors To Identify Harassment

To protect the Company from becoming a defendant in a devastating lawsuit, all managers and supervisors must be carefully and periodically trained to recognize workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.

Illinois Human Rights Act to Cover Sexual Harassment of Unpaid Interns

Governor Quinn recently signed a bill that will amend the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) to protect unpaid interns from sexual harassment. As you may recall, the IHRA expansively covers employers with one or more employees (in general, employees with 15 or more employees are covered by the IHRA).

Employer Lessons from Donald Sterling

There are very few, if any, individuals who are unaware of the well-publicized recent scandal involving Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. Certainly, Mr. Sterling's unfortunate comments have resulted in unprecedented penalties from the NBA and, in all probability, are the result of the very enflamed situation that grew from a bonfire to a forest fire within a few hours. Regardless of the circumstances of the Sterling scenario, there are lessons to be learned by all employers and management from this situation. Clearly, the actions and comments of employers, owners, and management, whether directed to employees or others, may have dire consequences for a business. Here are five practical tips for all employers to consider to avoid the "Donald Sterling motif."

EEOC Slammed With the Largest Fee Award Ever Levied Against the Agency

On August 1, 2013, a Northern District of Iowa district court judge awarded CRST Van Expedited with possibly the largest attorneys' fees and costs award ever levied against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The award, totaling $4,189,296.10 in attorneys' fees and $505,146.04 in costs, came at the end of a grueling six-year battle with the EEOC over the agency's sexual harassment claims.

The United States Supreme Court Draws Bright Line Rule On Who Is A "Supervisor" In Your Organization!

On June 24, 2013, the United States Supreme Court in Vance v. Ball State University handed down a sweeping decision favorable to employers that limits who may be considered a "supervisor" under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

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