Tag Archives: harassment

The proper response to claims of historic sexual harassment by employees

Another day, another sex scandal. A Martian reviewing the Evening Standard could reasonably conclude that this is an issue limited to film, media and politics but there would undoubtedly be those in many less glamorous workplaces who also have stories to tell and hopefully feel empowered to do so by the flood of others coming … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit to Employers: Failure to Timely and Thoroughly Investigate Sexual Harassment Claims May Cost You

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reminded us last Wednesday that claims of sexual harassment and hostile work environment are not just limited to victims of the opposite sex. The Sixth Circuit decision in Smith v. Rock-Tenn Services, Inc. upheld a Tennessee District Court’s award of $300,000 to an employee against his former employer after … Continue Reading

Can “Child’s Pose” Relieve Bikram Yoga Guru’s Stress After His January 25 California Court Double-Whammy?

I first encountered Bikram Choudhury 10 years ago (okay more like 15, but who’s counting) at his Bikram Yoga College on La Cienega Blvd. in L.A. when trying out his quintessential hot yoga class. He was memorable, parading around in Speedo-like short-shorts on a small stage in front of the class, shouting yoga commands. Given … Continue Reading

Doing the Lambeth Talk – Mr Livingstone, I presume

An interesting new defence to discriminatory harassment claims has been trialled this month by none other than former London Mayor, Ken Livingstone. Our Ken was recently appointed to a senior role in Labour’s Defence Review. Objections were heard from a number of quarters including Shadow Defence Minister Kevan Jones on the seemingly not unreasonable grounds … Continue Reading

“It was great” and other things not to say in support of your harassment claim

Mbuyi –v- Newpark Childcare is an everyday tale of Christianity meeting homosexuality and sparks ensuing, not in a good way.  Put very simply (there was a little more to it, including the glorious non-sequitur “X had replied with a positive comment, given that the Claimant is from Belgium”), a lesbian employee asked an Evangelical Christian … Continue Reading

Offensive tattoos in the UK workplace? Come on, be reasonable

I am quite confident that a great many of us have considered the possibility of getting a tattoo.  It may have been during the heady days of youth and only a fleeting fantasy, but a consideration nonetheless.  I will freely admit toying with the idea right up to the moment I realised that ‘inking’ myself … Continue Reading

Australian employee pays high price for revenge porn in the workplace

Taking a stand against jilted ex-lovers, Western Australia has joined the UK and USA to fight the war on ‘revenge porn’. Revenge porn occurs when the (either actually or imminently) ex-partner posts nude or intimate pictures or videos online without consent. In the absence of appropriate laws, perpetrators have often escaped liability. In response, countries … Continue Reading

Fishy goings-on at the aquarium – Japanese Court Upholds Penalties for Sexual Harassment

Last Thursday, the Japanese Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Osaka Aquarium sexual harassment case. The ruling made news across Japan and is particularly noteworthy on two points: that it upheld a relatively severe punishment (suspension and demotion) without a formal warning process in advance, and that it recognized purely verbal sexual harassment as … Continue Reading

EEOC Internal Memo Reveals LGBT Discrimination Remains Enforcement Priority

On February 3, 2015, the EEOC’s Director of the Office of Field Programs issued a memorandum to the agency’s district directors regarding the handling of LGBT-related discrimination claims. Although Title VII does not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of an employee’s identification as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, the memorandum states that the EEOC … Continue Reading

Single breast grope not sackable offence, says European court

Right, that should be enough to scupper UKIP’s chances of bringing the UK out of Europe, so now onto the actual facts. The German Labour Court in Erfurt last week ordered the reinstatement of a garage mechanic dismissed for fondling the cleaner’s breasts. Cut and dried dismissal material, one might think, especially accompanied by his … Continue Reading

Attention California Employers! Required Training for Supervisors Must Now Include an “Abusive Conduct” Component

California law currently requires that most employers provide sexual harassment prevention training to supervisory employees every two years.  In light of the attention being given to incidents of “workplace bullying,” California has now passed a law (AB 2053) amending Government Code section 12950.1 to require training on the prevention of “abusive conduct” as a component of … Continue Reading

Employers beware: Appeal Court heralds significant jump in sexual harassment damages in Australia

Australian employers have been given a clear warning that damages for sexual harassment are likely to be much higher in future.    In October 2013 we wrote about a Ms Richardson who won her sexual harassment claim against her employer and was awarded $18,000 in general damages, being damages for non-economic loss such as pain and … Continue Reading

A sorry state of affaires – sack your mistress or lose your family

Back in January 2013, my colleague David Whincup published a blog about an Iowa dentist who dismissed his assistant because of the threat which his wife considered her to pose to their marriage. For those happy few who have spent the last 17 months wondering what would happen in similar circumstances in the UK, wonder … Continue Reading

Impact of claimant’s dishonesty on injury to feelings compensation

So here is Friday’s teaser – let us suppose that an Employment Tribunal has just decided that you have been sexually harassed by your former boss, that he was fixated by your breasts, habitually stared at them and frequently addressed them while in conversation with you.  He has also touched you, uninvited and unreciprocated, on … Continue Reading

“Crazy Miss Cokehead” – when banter goes too far

 Most workplaces do (and indeed probably should) have a degree of daily workplace banter between employees within the workplace.  It’s usually part of the oil which keeps the machine running happily and smoothly.  But when does the banter cross the line from a little reciprocal mickey-taking and verbal jousting to help the day go past … Continue Reading

Bright-line Rules Issued by US Supreme Court in Title VII Retaliation and Harassment Cases

On June 24, the Supreme Court issued two significant, employer-friendly decisions which effectively raised the bar for employees pursing retaliation and harassment claims under Title VII. University of Texas Southern Medical Center v. Nassar In a sharply divided 5-4 ruling, the Court held in University of Texas Southern Medical Center v. Nassar, No. 12-484 that … Continue Reading

Teenage kicks – when the truth hurts

So is it age discrimination to called a teenage employee a “teenager”?  All a question of context, the Employment Tribunal decided in Roberts –v- Cash Zone (Camberley) Limited last month, a ruling which also sheds some side-light on the use of other potentially discriminatory terms in the workplace.   Ms Roberts was 18 when dismissed by … Continue Reading

FHM: “Fun Harmless Magazine” or “Foul Harassing Misogyny”?

In an open letter to the Guardian, gender equality campaigners Object and UK Feminista demand that UK retailers withdraw the sale of “Lads’ Mags” life FHM and newspapers featuring “pornographic front covers” immediately.  Object have been campaigning to “Lose the Lads’ Mags” for ten years but their latest assault tackles the issue from a predominantly … Continue Reading
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