Discrimination & Harassment

As Connecticut reported it’s first known COVID-19 cases over the weekend, it is becoming apparent that the time for preparation for a pandemic is starting to end, and the time for action items is beginning.

To that end, it seems that nearly every lawfirm is starting to compile answers to some frequently asked questions.

For

This blog has tried to stay apolitical throughout its 12+ years so I’m not going to start talking politics now.

But, over the last week, the issue of confidentiality provisions and non disparagement clauses in settlement agreements of discrimination claims has moved front and center of the political debate between Senator Elizabeth Warren and Michael

The EEOC has long advised that asking about date of birth on job applications was a particularly bad idea.

The ADEA does not explicitly prohibit an employer from asking an applicant’s age or date of birth. However, such inquiries may deter older workers from applying for employment or may otherwise indicate possible intent to discriminate

As someone who grew up in Connecticut and watched Channel 3 news religiously (at least before the internet), Denise D’Ascenzo, the local news anchor who passed away suddenly on Saturday, was one of a kind.  She was professional, authoritative, knowledgeable, and humble.

I loved watching her both on the news and during the yearly

It’s been far too long since our last installment from March 2019, but my ongoing dialogue with Nina Pirrotti, a prominent plaintiff’s-side employment law attorney, is back. In this post, we talked about the highlights from 2019 with a sneak peek at 2020.  My thanks to Nina for her contributions. You can find her firm’s blog posts here as well.  

Dan:  Nina! Good to talk with you again here.  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving; mine was full of turkey, stuffing and even skiing.  But we have so much to talk about. It seems that 2019 has been a busy year in employment law which is kind of surprising because the economy keeps rolling on. I thought we’d look back on 2019 and look ahead to 2020.

From my perspective, it’s tough trying to recap 2019 in just one or two paragraphs. The most obviously trendline to me sees to be that the #metoo movement shows no signs of abating or of a backlash.  And for people like both you and me who care about social justice, this is a great thing. Real change to root out sexual harassment has been long overdue. We’re now going to see training mandated at basically all workplaces and other changes.  But will it be enough or will it stall out in 2020?

Paid FMLA is obviously another big topic but we’re really not going to see those changes until at least 2021.  What else stands out to you from this past year?

Nina: A warm hello to one of my favorite sparring partners.  It is so great to rekindle our feisty exchanges!

Well, Dan, as you may have guessed from the two articles I wrote for the Connecticut Law Tribune in October 2018 and mid-March 2019, the critical issues raised by the #MeToo movement continue to loom large for me this year.

While we have on rare (and much publicized) occasions, seen the pendulum swing too far in the other direction, (See e.g. “’Survivor’ Contestants Apologize After #Me Too” Backlash”), the movement has largely been a force for healthy, overdue change.
Continue Reading The Dialogue: A Busy Year in Employment Law in 2019 with a Look Ahead to 2020

  • Did you hear about the guy who went into a rage when he got the shorter end of the wishbone?
    He just snapped!

In prior posts, I’ve described how Valentine’s Day and Halloween have been fowl holidays for employers.  Many a harassment or discrimination complaint has been based on those holidays.

But what about Thanksgiving?

First off, let me dispense with the elephant in the room — Yes, the show “Survivor” is still on the air and yes, I haven’t missed any of the 39 seasons of it.

In fact, I shared lessons that employers could learn from Survivor way back in 2010.

Last week’s episode of Survivor, however, brought far more reality than most would think a “reality show” could or should bring.

There’s a lot of nuance to the episode that a short blog post can’t get into (though this podcast by Rob Cesterino gives it a try), but the show’s episode revolved around legitimate sexual harassment claims, using harassment claims for nefarious purposes, and bystander syndrome.

And it was ugly. Really ugly.

Why?  Here are a few things that stood out to me from an employment perspective:

First, a female player (Kellee) complained to a producer that another male player (Dan) was a little too “touchy” and made her feel uncomfortable. To be sure, there was plenty of video evidence to back her up.   The male player was given a “warning” and play continued.  But here’s the thing: The female player never knew that a warning was issued and Dan worked with others to get Kellee voted out of the game immediately thereafter.  Not telling the complainant what was going on with her complaint is just one of the ways the producers seem to have mishandled things.


Continue Reading Sexual Harassment Prevention Lessons from the Television’s “Survivor”

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to talk about Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace at the CBIA’s HR Conference.  There was a lot to cover in our discussion and a lot of takeaways too.

For those in Human Resources or in-house lawyers reviewing a company’s potential use of AI in the workplace, here are three