Employers with facilities in New York are probably aware of the significant piece of anti-discrimination legislation Gov. Cuomo signed recently. The new law:

  • expands coverage to all employers regardless of size;woman in conference room
  • expands protections against discrimination to certain non-employees;
  • increases the statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims from one to three years;
  • adds punitive damages and mandatory attorneys’ fees as potential remedies;
  • prohibits mandatory arbitration of discrimination claims;
  • adds to the notice requirements an employer must provide regarding its sexual harassment policy, including in the language identified by any employee as their primary language; and
  • places significant specific restrictions upon the use of non-disclosure agreements

While these changes are certainly significant, the more troubling aspect of the law for employers and their counsel may be its expansive definition of sexual harassment as well as its open dismissiveness of federal law.
Continue Reading New York’s new discrimination law—Aberration or the start of a trend?

Cases involving an equal opportunity harasser are usually entertaining, but Colston v. Cleveland Public Library, (6th Cir. Apr. 15, 2013) is also educational because it demonstrates how an employer can properly get rid of an equal opportunity harasser and defeat discrimination and harassment claims based on the harasser’s conduct at the same time.

Plaintiff

According to a complaint filed this week in New York, two licensed massage therapists, Christina Scavo and Shannon O’Toole, claim that the New York Jets never called them back to provide therapy for the Jets after Scavo’s husband called Favre to complain during training camp in 2008 that he had propositioned her by text message.

This case exemplifies our reason for creating the Employment Outtakes category. 

A California (where else?)appellate court (see Orlando v. Alarm Onehas overturned a jury award of $500,000 in compensatory and $1 million in punitive damages to a 52 year old female on sexual battery and sex harassment claims that  arose out of spankings

The importance of leaving your personal life at home-particularly if it involves a penchant for pornography-is amply highlighted by the Second Circuit’s decision in Patane v. Clark, No. 06-3446 (2nd Cir. Nov. 28, 2007). In Patane, the court upheld a female college secretary’s right to pursue a hostile work environment claim under Title VII and state discrimination laws based on her male supervisor’s pornographic video and website viewing habits. The supervisor allegedly viewed sexually-explicit videotapes for one to two hours every day on his office television, which was visible to his secretary through a glass partition. He also left pornographic videos scattered across his office floor, viewed pornographic websites on his secretary’s work computer, and required her, as a part of her secretarial duties, to open his mail, which included pornographic videotapes that the supervisor had delivered to his office.
Continue Reading Secretary May Pursue Sexual Harassment Suit for Hostile Work Environment Based on Boss’s Video Habit