How has the #metoo movement impacted claims against employers? The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced preliminary FY 2018 sexual harassment data last week. The EEOC filed 66 harassment lawsuits, and 41 included allegations of sexual harassment. That reflects more than a 50% increase in suits challenging sexual harassment over last year. The EEOC also reported that charges filed with the Commission alleging sexual harassment increased by more than 12%, and overall, the EEOC recovered nearly $70 million for the victims of sexual harassment through litigation and administrative enforcement — $20 million more than last year. So yes, it appears the #metoo movement is affecting claims against employers.
According to the EEOC, “Combatting all forms of workplace harassment — whether based on sex, race, color, disability, age, national origin, or religion — remains a top priority of the EEOC.” And employers are taking notice. Requests for training on workplace harassment have increased. At ABRC, we conducted almost two times more harassment-related trainnings in the first three quarters of this year than we did the same three quarters last year. And more employers are starting to include diversity, bias, and civility training, often called the “gateway” conduct to unlawful harassment.
Find out: #WhatNext? Are you doing all you can to prevent workplace harassment?
#needhelp? ABRC’s HR Solutions team of law-degreed professionals has developed a comprehensive Respectful Workplace training. Employers around the country have used the training to mitigate legal risks, educate employees, and provide managers with the tools necessary to identify and address harassing or discriminatory conduct. One client recently told us, “Having you come into our office to conduct harassment training helped not only our employees, but management as well. We have a far better understanding of what is okay and what is not in the workplace.” Employers are taking this opportunity to develop their most important asset — their human capital.
Heather offers practical guidance and helps employers find solutions to employment law and compliance matters.
Heather educates and advises employers on all aspects of employment law, including compliance with state and federal laws, leaves of absence, discrimination, harassment, accommodations, discipline and discharge, wage and hour obligations, unfair competition, and other issues that arise in the workplace. In addition to Heather’s employment counseling, her background includes nearly a decade of litigation experience. Her prior experience includes litigating for a regional insurance company, business disputes, and employment.
At Vail Place, a nonprofit agency providing mental health recovery services, the role of human resources was changing. Vail Place has two Minnesota locations, one in Hopkins and one in Minneapolis. “Over the past few years, our people have needed to learn new roles,” says Executive Director Vicky Couillard, “while our organization faced a lot of new responsibilities.
On May 11, 2014, the governor of Minnesota signed the Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA), a bill that will require Minnesota employers to make dramatic changes to their employment policies and practices.
While WESA directly impacts employers who conduct business in Minnesota, the changes follow plans by federal and local governments to expand legal protections for women and other employees. For this reason, employers in other jurisdictions should pay close attention to these national and state law trends.
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