On August 9, 2019, Jennifer Grady, Esq. was featured on episode 456 of The Remarkable Results Radio, with host Carm Capriotto, to discuss Sexual Harassment in the workplace and what employers can do to prevent it.
Key Talking Points
During the radio show, Jennifer and Carm discussed important points on sexual harassment in the workplace including:
Two female employees at a California winery were subject to repeated sexual harassment by the winery’s general manager and then subsequently retaliated against by the company. A Los Angeles jury awarded $11 million dollars to the two women. Each woman received $1 million for past emotional distress; $1.5 million for future emotional distress and $3 million in punitive damages. In addition to the $11 million dollars to the women, their attorneys will also receive their attorney’s fees.
Ford announced it would pay up to $10.1 million to settle a racial- and sexual-harassment investigation at two Chicago plants.
GREEN CARD BASED ON MARRIAGEWEDDING SEASON SPECIAL
Before getting married, engaged couples should start preparing their application to apply for a Green Card based on marriage to their US citizen spouse so that they can apply as soon as they receive their marriage certificate. Just in time to commemorate the start of wedding season, The Grady Firm is offering $100 off on our “Gold” Green Card Application Package, now through May 20, 2019. Just mention the code, “LOVE”.
We offer several levels of service to fit any budget, beginning with our most economical Bronze package at $1,000. For applicants wanting more hands-on service, or for complicated cases, we have our Gold and Platinum packages.
*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This article does not make any guarantees as to the outcome of a particular matter, as each matter has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated individually by a licensed attorney.
On September 30, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed over a dozen bills into law with the intent on making the Golden State the leader in the nation on the much-analyzed and discussed topic of sexual harassment.
Governor Brown signed his last bill on Sunday night. Over his career, he signed nearly 20,000 bills, including 1,016 this year. The new laws, on a range of issues from climate change to criminal justice to gender issues, place California on the “left coast” politically. Brown’s ambitions can be summarized by his statement that, “We are going to be the moral compass and the policy trendsetter of the country.”
While these new laws will benefit employees and address serious and relevant issues, they will continue to place more demands on employers across California who attempt to comply with the most legislated corporate territory in the country.
A full list of Governor Browns approvals and vetoes can be found in his Legislative Update. Of the dozens of bills signed into law on September 30, the most relevant on this topic include the following: Continue reading →
The California Legislature has passed the following labor and employment bills, which will become law effective January 2018.
PRIOR SALARY AND PRIOR CONVICTIONS
Salary History Information
AB 168 prohibits employers from asking job applicants for “salary history information,” which includes both compensation and benefits. But where an applicant “voluntarily and without prompting” discloses salary history information, the employer may rely upon the information in setting the applicant’s starting salary. As a result, questions about prior salary may not be asked in job applications or interviews by an employer or an agent of the employer.
Additionally, AB 168 requires employers to provide the pay scale for a position if the applicant requests it. This bill makes California the first jurisdiction in the country to require that employers provide applicants with the pay scale for a position, upon “reasonable request.”
This bill applies to employers, both private and public, and will become effective January 1, 2018.Continue reading →
Given the recent tidal wave of allegations of sexual harassment in politics, the entertainment industry, and social media, employers may want consider the following guidelines in preparation for their company holiday events where alcohol and off-site events may create a combustible mix of unwanted behavior by one employee to another.
Holiday parties may be an excellent opportunity for employees to socialize outside of the confines of the office, and to reward employees for their service, but they can also give rise to employer liability in the absence of appropriate precautions. Before planning your next holiday soiree, review the potential pitfalls and solutions below so that your event can be full of cheer, rather than unpleasant lawsuits.
Serving Alcohol at Company Functions
While having alcohol available may make typical water cooler conversations less awkward, and can be a way for people to let off steam and celebrate, it can lead to liability for employers in the form of vicarious liability, sexual harassment, social host liability, and other potential issues. Continue reading →
As Harvey Weinstein’s decades of sexual harassment in the work place dominates the headlines on the heels of other scandals involving Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cosby, President Trump, Billy Bush, and former President Bill Clinton, it is time to explore ways that we all can take tangible action to help make sexual harassment and violence extinct, whether it is through awareness, outreach, personal restraint/responsibility, and/or formal training. While claims against powerful individuals continue to surface in the media and on social media, and companies adjust their response polices, one thing is clear: sexual claims are very real, very expensive, and very destructive.
California legislators continue to create new and revise old laws. A summary of the changes for 2017, and annual best practices recommendations, are provided below:
Take note of increase to minimum wage and update in payroll/ with payroll processor
Advise employees of decreased mileage reimbursement to 53.5 cents per mile
Post updated federal, state, and local ordinance posters in common areas
Use updated I-9 form by January 21, 2017
Distribute Notice to Employee to reflect changes in wages or company polices within 7 days of the change
Update Employee Handbook (annually) and conduct Performance Reviews
Ensure personnel files are up to date with signed documents (including Anti-Harassment policy and Arbitration Agreement, among others)
Schedule Sexual Harassment training
As of January 1, 2017, the minimum wage has been increased to $10.50 per hour in California for employers with 26 or more employees, and remains at $10.00 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
In addition, several cities will see an additional increase in the minimum wage. The following is a short list of cities with more expansive minimum wages for employers of all sizes, unless otherwise noted: Continue reading →
While sexual harassment has been in everyone’s vocabulary since Dolly Parton’s Nine to Five graced screens in 1980, it has become a topic of increased importance and media coverage as more and more sexual harassment claims are brought against celebrities such as Bill Cosby, President-Elect Donald Trump, and former President Bill Clinton. While you or your employees may not identify with these over-the-top personalities in positions of power, sexual harassment claims are very real and very expensive.
For example, a recent claim against the popular P.F. Chang’s China Bistro chain cost the company $1 million in response to two employees’ claims that they were repeatedly sexually harassed and were subjected to a hostile work environment. According to the arbitrator’s written order, both women said they were subjected to offensive comments and conduct from the male kitchen staff at the restaurants, including jokes about sex, remarks about female workers’ bodies, and kissing and whistling noises aimed at female employees as they walked by. In addition, one of the women said she saw a group of male kitchen employees watching a pornographic video on a smartphone, and she frequently heard the cooks singing sexually explicit songs in the rear of the restaurant in University City. The reality is that these activities occur more often than you might think.
Although holiday parties may be an excellent opportunity for employees to socialize outside of the confines of the office, and to reward employees for their service, they can also give rise to employer liability in the absence of appropriate precautions. Before planning your next holiday soiree, review the potential pitfalls and solutions below so that your event can be full of cheer, rather than unpleasant lawsuits.
Serving Alcohol at Company Functions
While having alcohol available may make typical water cooler conversations less awkward, it can lead to liability for employers in the form of vicarious liability, sexual harassment, social host liability, and other potential issues.
Even though refraining from serving alcohol altogether is the safest option, in the event that your company plans to serve alcohol at you next function, keep the following tips in mind: Continue reading →
Beginning April 1, 2016, California employers with five or more total employees (whether or not all of those employees live in California) must update their anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and complaint-investigation policies, and distribute them to employees for signature. These policies must be in compliance with recent amendments to California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), and must be distributed to all employees.
The new regulations include the following:
Provides for additional protected classes under the FEHA;
Clarifies harassment liability;
Updates legal standards and legal remedies of discrimination;
Revises complaint procedures;
Clarifies the investigation process;
Expands record-keeping requirements; and
Expands the rights of pregnant employees and employees with service animals.
Sexual Harassment claims are on the rise and can cost employers significantly in terms of time, money, and lost productivity. According to the EEOC, over 1,700 complaints of discrimination based on sex (pregnancy or sexual harassment) were filed in California in 2014. When there is a sexual harassment claim, both sides can lose–in addition to the social, economic, and psychological effects suffered by victims of harassment, these complaints cost employers millions of dollars in legal fees and lost opportunities. Continue reading →