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As the #MeToo movement has grown over the past two years, and claims against powerful individuals continue to surface in the media and on social media, employers and companies need to adjust their response polices as one thing is clear: sexual claims are very real, very expensive, and very destructive.
The following cases are real-world examples of how sexual harassment claims can cost employers in terms of time, money, and employee morale, and can cause pain and distress to employees.
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.
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.
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In 2016, 12,860 sexual harassment charges were filed with the EEOC, and of the 23,510 total cases that were filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) in 2016, 17% were harassment or gender-based. However, many more instances go unreported.
In the intervening years, these cases have continued to surface and the social movement around them has gained momentum. In response, more and more states have implemented either mandatory sexual harassment prevention laws, or added recommended training protocols to their state codes as a means of encouraging employers to protect themselves against these costly lawsuits.
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As of June 25, 2019, nearly half of all US states have various training requirements. Seven states require training for all employers of a certain size, fourteen states require training for public sector employers, and nine states have training recommendations in their state codes.
As of June 25, 2019, the following states have training requirements: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, NJ, NY, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. The following states recommend, but don’t require training: Idaho, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Check with legal counsel in your state about scheduling harassment prevention training, ensuring that your company complies with posting requirements, and developing and distributing an anti-harassment policy to employees.
The Grady Firm attorneys provide the following employment law services:
On-site, classroom-style Sexual Harassment training for employees and supervisors;
“Experiential” supervisor training in which managerial employees practice processing a harassment complaint and commencing an investigation in pairs with other trainees. Draft and review Employee Handbooks, arbitration agreements, and Anti-Harassment policies;
Conduct employee personnel file audits;
Create accounts and assist with E-Verify monitoring;
Assist with the employee on-boarding, discipline, and termination process;
Advise as to medical leave policies and implementation; and
Defend employer when they are sued by current or former employees.
The Grady Firm works with dynamic employers and employees across the country to prepare successful employment-based visa and Green Card applications. In addition, we help individuals, families, employees, business owners, and investors obtain non-immigrant and immigrant visas (B-1/B2, H-1B, H-2B, L-1A, L-1B, O-1, TN, E-2, E-3), as well and Green Cards and citizenship based on family relationships, investment, or employment.
Click here to schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s attorneys; call +1 (949) 798-6298; or fill out a Contact Request Form.
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.
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