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Harassment Archives

Love Contracts And Policies On Office Romance: What Can An Employer Do?!

There has been so much written lately both in gossip columns and legal (and standard) news about sex harassment in the workplace. Employers are understandably quite nervous about dating among co-workers. Can it lead to lawsuits? When does it deteriorate to sex harassment? What should an employer do?

"Me Too" Movement and "Hush Money"

With the ever increasing coverage and commentary regarding sexual harassment issues (even Speaker Mike Madigan's office recently) there have been two (2) very interesting developments in the arena of sexual harassment/sexual abuse that Employers should be aware of.

Sexual Harassment Liability in Illinois: Who is Putting Your Company At Risk?

It is nearly impossible to glance at a current news source without seeing or hearing a story about sexual harassment. While the catalyst for this recent surge in sexual harassment stories has been the rampant harassment alleged, and at times admitted, in the entertainment industries, sexual harassment claims continue to be a substantial source of employment litigation in the courts.

Can a Great Human Resources Department End Sexual Harassment in Your Company?

Unfortunately, no. The answer to stopping sexual harassment problems in a company is more complicated and difficult than just hiring an extremely dedicated and motivated Human Resources Department. Every person in the Company must be fully trained to understand the total unacceptability of sexual harassment (and, at the most basic level, fully understand what sexual harassment is-and how to complain when observing and/or experiencing it).

Private employers should have sexual harassment prevention training to prevent a "#MeToo" moment

Unfortunately, claims of sexual harassment are happening everywhere in today's society. Hollywood, Washington, DC and New York are prime examples. Illinois employers, don't be naïve - it happens in Illinois too!

Keeping Sexual Harassment Out of Your Workplace

Over the past few months (and if you go back a little longer, over the past few years), allegations of sexual harassment have permeated the media. Whether it be Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Bill O'Reilly, Al Franken, or Roy Moore, the media has had a field day in discussing sexual harassment issues. There have been numerous articles written about why "our culture" has allowed this phenomenon to exist. From the extremely high judicial standard in the Courts establishing within the Law proof of sexual harassment, to the fear of individuals to report sexual harassment because of its disdain, potential skepticism and shunning of the alleged victim, to the inability to fully investigate and document claims, all have been analogized as potential problem areas giving rise to the persistence of sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment Protection - Chicago Style

The highly questionable activities of Harvey Weinstein and others have caused the City Council of the City of Chicago to make significant changes to its laws in an effort to reduce sexual harassment. As a result of a recent survey of numerous hotels in the Chicagoland Area, which asserts that more than half of the women surveyed were allegedly sexually harassed or assaulted on their job, the Chicago City Council passed an Ordinance with the intent of protecting Hotel Workers.

Common Risky Employer Mistakes in a Workplace Investigation

The need for workplace investigations usually arises suddenly and without warning. Company management receives a complaint (most commonly a sex harassment complaint or a complaint of discrimination) and often does not know how to proceed.

Expanding Title VII?

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals' landmark decision in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana (Case No. 15-1720), which established that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans discrimination on the issue of sexual orientation, may be an indication that the Courts are willing to adopt much more inclusive positions towards gay workers and may, as well, keep moving in that same direction with regard to transgender employees. It is quite clear from a review of print and social media that LGBT advocates are becoming much more aggressive in the challenging of perceived discrimination in the workplace. Clearly, the Legal Basis behind the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Decision in Hively could also be used in future Cases to widen the scope of protection for transgender workers.

Illinois Employers - Liable for Criminal Acts of Supervisors?

While the liability of employers in the State of Illinois has been expanded substantially by recent amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act and the recent decision of the US District Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in the Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana (Case No. 15-1720), which was a landmark decision holding that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, there have been few, if any, cases in which Illinois employers have had to bear the responsibility for the criminal conduct of their employees. Unfortunately, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently issued a decision (March 24, 2017) in the Case of Sherry Anicich v. Home Depot USA, Inc.; Grand Service, LLC and Grand Flower Growers, Inc. (Case No. 16-1693). The Federal Court, acting and applying Illinois law, found that the joint employers were liable for the criminal acts of a supervisor (Brian Cooper - Regional Manager) in his rape and murder of Alisha Bromfield.

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