Harassment

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Another foot in the grave of workplace common sense? (UK)

“HMRC boss sending worker unwanted birthday card was harassment“, said the Times Online yesterday, surely a second nailed-on candidate for 2024’s No Good Deed Awards after a similar allegation earlier this year in relation to offering an older worker a chair. Needless to say, there is somewhat more to the story than that, so those … Continue Reading

Latest instalment on settlement agreements covering future claims (UK)

In an earlier post we looked at how far a settlement agreement could validly waive claims in respect of things which haven’t yet happened.  The Scottish Court of Session in Bathgate -v- Technip UK Limited had very sensibly indicated that you can agree not to pursue future rights provided that the settlement agreement contains wording … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates Workplace Harassment Guidelines Reinforcing Protections for LGBTQ+ Employees (US)

For the first time in 25 years, on April 29, 2024, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) published final guidance on harassment in the workplace, updating the federal workplace guidelines to provide protections for transgender workers related to misgendering and the denial of bathroom access. This new guidance reflects the 2020 U.S Supreme Court’s … Continue Reading

I won’t take this sitting down – how to escape liability for kind thoughts in the workplace (UK)

Into the second half of April we go with a strong contender for the No Good Deed prize in the 2024 Has it Really Come to This? Awards,. Employers staring aghast at news in the Times on Saturday that “Offering a seat to older staff risks discrimination” should not worry – there is a great … Continue Reading

Workplace Harassment in Germany: “We take all allegations regarding harassment seriously” – but what are the consequences?

In the third of our short series “Workplace Harassment in Germany”, Laura Sparschuh takes a look at some recent court rulings regarding harassment. Awareness of workplace harassment as an issue in Germany has significantly increased over the past couple of years. In many cases of sexual harassment in particular, employers keen to be seen to … Continue Reading

Workplace harassment in Germany (Part 2): a checklist for your workplace investigations

“We conduct investigations in line with all applicable laws and regulations.” Easy for you to say, but what does that mean in practice?  In part one, Laura Sparschuh discussed the options available to employees in Germany when reporting cases of workplace harassment. In this second article, Anna-Maria Hesse and Laura highlight what employers need to … Continue Reading

Workplace Harassment in Germany: “We Encourage You to Speak Up!” But to Whom?

In the first of a short series of blog posts on workplace harassment in Germany, Laura Sparschuh highlights Germany’s new Whistleblower Protection Act and key issues for employers to consider when handling reports of harassment.   In Germany, the Whistleblower Protection Act came into full effect in December 2023. The main news is that employers … Continue Reading

Does failure to prevent sexual harassment lead to directors exposing themselves? (UK)

In the normal course, the question of whether there is any interplay between the new duty to take proactive steps to prevent sexual harassment on the one hand and section 172 Companies Act 2006 on the other would be a bit of a downer at your Christmas dinner.  However, if you are a director then … Continue Reading

Belgium – “Who you gonna call?” — appointment of a person of trust mandatory as of 1 December

While some are already hanging up the Christmas decorations and squeezing back into their Christmas jumpers, the Belgian legislator has picked the festive season to introduce a number of new measures relating to well-being in the workplace. We will discuss these measures in a series of blogs. The first measure holds that the appointment of … Continue Reading

The trouble with the reluctant complainant (UK)

It has been annual review season here at Squire Patton Boggs.  Looking back over my efforts this year in the usual endeavour to justify my own existence, I have spotted the same scenario cropping up with unusual frequency.  An employee tells their employer that they have experienced something at work that they are not too … Continue Reading

New GCC rules for employers, Part 1 (UAE)

A number of changes were introduced across the Gulf Cooperation Council states during the course of 2022 (several of which have now been implemented, while some are due to take effect later in 2023). In this article, the first of a short series covering those changes, we provide a brief summary of the key employment … Continue Reading

State Law Roundup: 2022 Year-End Edition (US)

State and local legislatures were active throughout 2022 in passing laws and ordinances that will impact employers of all sizes and all industries in 2023. Click HERE for our summary of these laws and related developments, including important developments in California, Colorado, Illinois, New York, and elsewhere! If you haven’t already, you might also want … Continue Reading

EAT reinforces protection of employee beliefs in Biblical pronouns row (UK)

As a break from workplace investigations and before Covid’s threatened resurgence as an issue for employers, how about this new slice of “gay cake” case law around what should and should not happen when your religious beliefs clash with the requirements of your job? In Mackereth –v- DWP & Another this week, the claimant was … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Reminder That Caregiver Duties Continue Even As COVID Surge Wanes (US)

On March 14, 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a new technical assistance document, “The COVID-19 Pandemic and Caregiver Discrimination Under Federal Employment Discrimination Law,” reminding employers that caregiver obligations continue notwithstanding our gradual return to normal. The 10-page document warns that, even as pandemic conditions change, many employers, schools, and daycare … Continue Reading

President Biden Signs Into Law Ban on Mandatory Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Claims (US)

On February 11, 2022, we reported on Congress’ enactment of legislation barring the use of mandatory arbitration provisions in cases of sexual assault or sexual harassment. On March 3, 2022, President Biden signed the bill into law, as expected, making it illegal to compel an employee to arbitrate a claim of sexual assault or sexual … Continue Reading

Congress Bars Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Claims (US)

On February 7, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed, and on February 10, the U.S. Senate approved, a bill (the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act (Act)) that would amend the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) so as to invalidate clauses in employment agreements requiring employees to arbitrate claims of sexual … Continue Reading

Grievances and punishment – Is it enough to succeed, or must others fail? (UK)

If you look for the statutory source of the ordinary right to bring a workplace grievance, you may be gone some time.  It arose initially as a by-product of the implied duty of trust and confidence, and formally bubbled to the surface in WA Gould (Pearmak) Limited – v – McConnell in 1995.  There the … Continue Reading

Unconvincing lack of detail in UK government’s response to harassment consultation

Sexual harassment is absolutely no laughing matter, but it is difficult to suppress a tired smile when reading the government’s Response to its 2019 consultation on harassment in the workplace.  This is very heavy on prospective voter-appeal but rather lighter (weightless, basically) on the practicalities. We shall impose a proactive duty on employers to prevent … Continue Reading

Biden Administration Nixes Trump-Era EEOC Pre-Suit Conciliation Rule (US)

Late last year, we reported that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had released a proposed rule modifying the mandatory conciliation process the EEOC must follow before it can file a lawsuit in its own name against an employer. Under long-standing anti-discrimination statutes, before the EEOC can commence litigation against an employer for employment discrimination … Continue Reading

Sexual harassment reforms fast approaching in response to Respect@Work (Australia)

In the wake of a spate of high profile sexual assault and harassment allegations in recent weeks, the federal government has announced it will implement a suite of anti-harassment reforms in response to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s landmark Respect@Work national inquiry report, which was released in March 2020. The Respect@Work inquiry found that Australia’s current … Continue Reading

EAT refuses to swallow stale discrimination training – keeping up the statutory defence (UK)

As a rule, an employer will be liable for the discriminatory acts of its employees towards each other unless it has taken all reasonable steps to prevent them doing that sort of thing (section 109(4) Equality Act, often known as the “statutory defence”). Allay (UK) Limited –v- Gehlen is one of really not very many … Continue Reading

State Law Round-Up: Year End Edition – PART TWO (Illinois – Washington, D.C.) (US)

In Part One of our year-end State Law Roundup, we covered national minimum wage developments and developments in states at the beginning of the alphabet: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, and Hawaii.  In Part Two below, we look at developments in the rest of the states (and localities), from Illinois to Washington D.C. Illinois: Illinois employers … Continue Reading
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