Matt Lauer: One Sexual Harassment Complaint Led to More

As more women are coming forward to claim sexual harassment, other women are also gaining the courage to come forward. This is the current trend in a variety of sexual harassment cases that are hitting the media. Such appears to be the case in the recent reports about Matt Lauer, long time anchor and host of the “Today” show.

 

Details About the Matt Lauer Sexual Harassment and His Job Termination

According to Fox News , NBC met with Lauer, an alleged victim and her lawyer to confront Lauer about his inappropriate sexual behavior. Since the news broke, it became apparent there was more than one isolated incident. NBC quickly fired Matt Lauer and stated it was the first time they had heard about the sexual harassment allegations.

People magazine reports that eight women have now come forward regarding inappropriate sexual behavior on Matt Lauer’s part.

Lauer has issued a public apology for his actions and for the people he has harmed, and said that although not all aspects of the allegations were true and some he felt were mischaracterized, there was enough truth in them for him to apologize and feel regret and shame. He said his full time job is now to do what he can to repair the damage he has done.

Actions that Make Lauer’s Instance Stand Apart from Other Recent Claims

NBC News acted quickly on the allegations after discovering them. Matt Lauer did not deny that he engaged in sexual misconduct, but instead expressed his regret and indicated he would take action to repair the damage.

As a business, what is the best approach to take when allegations of sexual harassment arise? If you face sexual harassment issues, seek legal counsel as soon as possible and discuss your concerns so you can weigh your options.

Stephen Hans & Associates has decades of experience assisting business owners with employment related issues.

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Matt Lauer: One Sexual Harassment Complaint Led to More

As more women are coming forward to claim sexual harassment, other women are also gaining the courage to come forward. This is the current trend in a variety of sexual harassment cases that are hitting the media. Such appears to be the case in the recent reports about Matt Lauer, long time anchor and host of the “Today” show.

Sex Harassment

Details About the Matt Lauer Sexual Harassment and His Job Termination

According to Fox News, NBC met with Lauer, an alleged victim and her lawyer to confront Lauer about his inappropriate sexual behavior. Since the news broke, it became apparent there was more than one isolated incident. NBC quickly fired Matt Lauer and stated it was the first time they had heard about the sexual harassment allegations.

People magazine reports that eight women have now come forward regarding inappropriate sexual behavior on Matt Lauer’s part.

Lauer has issued a public apology for his actions and for the people he has harmed, and said that although not all aspects of the allegations were true and some he felt were mischaracterized, there was enough truth in them for him to apologize and feel regret and shame. He said his full time job is now to do what he can to repair the damage he has done.

Actions that Make Lauer’s Instance Stand Apart from Other Recent Claims

NBC News acted quickly on the allegations after discovering them. Matt Lauer did not deny that he engaged in sexual misconduct, but instead expressed his regret and indicated he would take action to repair the damage.

As a business, what is the best approach to take when allegations of sexual harassment arise? If you face sexual harassment issues, seek legal counsel as soon as possible and discuss your concerns so you can weigh your options.

Stephen Hans & Associates has decades of experience assisting business owners with employment related issues.

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What Are New York Laws on Tip Pooling?

One class action lawsuit after another has brought tip pooling into the legal limelight. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) has even filed a petition against the U.S. Department of Labor that alleges the courts have given the DOL authority in tip pooling matters that exceeds the scope Congress intended.

The Ninth Circuit and Fourth Circuit federal courts are divided in rendered decisions regarding tip pooling, and in addition, differing laws also exist at the state levels. For nationwide chains, the lack of consensus is particularly confusing and burdensome.

Despite the confusion, if you are a New York restaurant owner, it behooves you to understand and comply with NY laws on tip pooling.

New York Tip Credit Laws

Under NY law, employers can take tip credits, which means employers can count the employee’s tips toward minimum wages. If the tipped employee does not make enough in tips to equal the minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference, and the “credit” is the amount of wage the employer does not have to pay because it is covered in tips.

In New York, the tip credit varies based on the industry and is different for restaurants and hospitality industries, such as hotels and other lodgings. If an employee’s job involves both tipped services and non-tipped work, New York law requires that the employer not claim a tip credit for the entire day if the employer works two hours per day or more than 20 percent of the shift doing non-tipped work. The employer must pay the employee the full NY State minimum wage, including for the hours the employee was earning tips.

New York Tip Pooling Laws

In New York, employees subject to tip pooling can chip in their share of tips, and the employer divides the tips among the employees whose jobs principally provide services that customers tip, such as serving, busing tables, running food to tables and hosting. Employers cannot keep any part of the pool or tip sharing and must distribute the money to the employees.

In New York, if the customer leaves a tip on a credit card, the employer may deduct a percentage of the tip amount to cover the credit card fee. An example would be to deduct three percent of the tip amount if the credit card company charges a three percent credit card fee.

(For further information see Nolo: New York Law for Tipped Employees )

Representing Employers Tip Related Litigation

Stephen Hans & Associates has assisted employers for more than two decades with employment issues, including lawsuits involving tipping credits and tipping pools.

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EEOC Offers Harassment Prevention and Respectful Workplaces Training

Despite legislation and law enforcement, incidents of harassment still occur in the workplace. Often employers are at a loss in knowing how to prevent it. They can’t be everywhere at once to supervise first-hand what is taking place in their business.

The new training being offered by the EEOC is a proactive solution for preventing harassment. The training applies to real life situations and gives employees and employers valuable tools that begin by addressing uncivil behavior, which can escalate and lead to harassment.

Sexual Harassment

How Does This Training Differ from Other Anti-Harassment Education and Training Programs?

Traditional anti-harassment or anti-discrimination training programs focus on educating supervisors and workers about existing laws, legal definitions and liability standards that businesses must meet.

The EEOC’s new programs , called “Leading for Respect” and “Respect in the Workplace,” focus directly on conduct.

Participants in the program learn about treating others with respect and what respectful conduct involves. By fostering respectful behavior in the workplace, businesses can also become more efficient and profitable. The training also assists employers by reviewing their policies and procedures and evaluating them in terms of harassment prevention.

The point where a company starts preventing harassment is by changing its culture.  Two main aspects of the program geared to do this are workplace civility training and bystander intervention training.

 

Workplace Civility and Bystander Intervention Training

Workplace civility training promotes civility and tolerance for diversity in the workplace. When workers enter a general culture of civility, employers often see less of its counterpart, harassment.

Civility training has been used by employers and is not new to workplaces. However, bystander prevention training is a newer concept for preventing harassment.

Schools and colleges have used violence intervention training as a way to curb sexual assault. It empowers students to intervene and prevent assault by increasing bystander awareness, encouraging collective responsibility, empowering students through skill-building exercises and making resources available to support intervention. By-stander prevention training brings the same skills to the workplace to enable workers to intervene and stop harassment.

If you have questions or legal concerns about workplace harassment, find out how we can help.

Stephen Hans & Associates has decades of experience assisting company owners with employment related issues.

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Washington Post Settles Age and Discrimination Lawsuit

The Washington Post recently settled a lawsuit filed by former advertising executive David DeJesus. When bad publicity becomes a greater threat to business than losing money through a settlement, oftentimes businesses opt to settle.

discrim at job interview

Such was the case with the Washington Post. DeJesus claimed that his boss terminated him in 2011 due to racial discrimination. He had enjoyed an 18-year career with the company, and while the Washington Post claimed it based his termination on “willful neglect of duty and insubordination,” an appeals court of three judges decided last year that a jury could hear the case. The appellate court overturned a lower court that dismissed the lawsuit.

The appeals court went on the record as saying, “A jury could properly conclude that the Washington Post’s proffered reason [for the termination of DeJesus] is so unreasonable that it provokes suspicion of pretext.” (New York Post)

 

Further Details about the Age and Discrimination Lawsuit

According to the Observer, David DeJesus brought in more than $1 billion in revenue during his nearly 20 years of tenure with the company. His termination occurred abruptly with his boss cursing and shouting at him. In the federal claim that DeJesus filed in 2014, he also stated that his termination along with the terminations of 47 other older black employers at about the same time were so the company could hire younger, less expensive white employees.

Other affidavits file by former African American Washington Post employees provided details of racial harassment and in particular racial harassment by advertising Vice-President Ethan Selzer. He fired DeJesus without previous discipline or forewarning and told a black female employee to clean the department kitchen and made racist jokes about another black subordinate’s husband. Also, at one point an employee who came to work at the Washington Post wearing a KKK belt buckle was not even disciplined.

Quiet in the Media and with the Settlement

The Observer noted that a number of media outlets ignored the lawsuit and MSNBC did not respond to DeJesus’ request for coverage.

Do You Have Employment Issues that Could Become Legal Matters?

Our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates are glad to address your concerns. We offer clients seasoned legal advice based on more than 20 years of employment law experience.

 

 

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NYC Department of Transportation Sued for Racial Discrimination

This summer the NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) faced a lawsuit for racial discrimination. The Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney filed a lawsuit that alleged a pattern of racial discrimination and retaliation.

Shot of a businessman standing in front of a window using a digital tablet

Details of the Racial Discrimination Violation

According to the article released by the Department of Justice, NYCDOT supervisors for nearly 10 years participated in racial discrimination by:

  • Tolerating use of racial epithets
  • Systematically excluding racial minorities from preferred assignments
  • Discriminating against minority employees for promotions

The discrimination was brought to the DOT management’s attention, but instead of taking proper corrective action, they retaliated against employees who made the allegations.

Fleet Services, a unit within NYCDOT employs an estimated 200 employees in various trades including machinists, auto mechanics, electricians, blacksmiths and engineers. All personnel in this unit reported to an executive who regularly and flagrantly referred to African American employees as “monkeys,” “niggers” and “gorillas.” Another example of the executive director’s conduct included responding to an African American’s request for a cell phone by saying, “that nigger gets nothing.”

The Executive Director verbally threatened and also threatened physical violence against an employee who accused him of discriminating against racial minorities.

The lawsuit demanded that the executive director be demoted, suspended and removed from his position as NYCDOT EEO counselor. The counselor decided to retire. However, his second in command who had also been involved in and tolerated the discrimination was promoted into the Executive Director position.

Settlement

In a settlement agreement, the city agreed to pay more than $1.3 million to individual employees.

The settlement provisions included:

Offering monetary compensation to 14 individuals entitled to relief, which consisted of back pay and compensatory damages awards within a range of $60,000 to $168,000. The complainant who brought the claim to the EEOC’s attention would receive $150,000 and attorney’s fees.

Do You Face Allegations of Discrimination?

Employers dealing with discrimination issues should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Stephen Hans & Associates cam advise the best legal action for you to take as an employer.

 

 

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Starbucks Baristas Complain About Company’s Parental-Leave Policies

Starbucks made its company stand out from many others when it put in place a six-weeks paid parental leave policy for eligible birth mothers. Starbucks made this a nationwide policy. Indeed they did stand out as being “a different kind of company” that “put our people first.” (Grub street.com)

However, female Starbucks executives get 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave and male executives get 12 paid weeks. Starbucks considers this difference in paid parental leaves a fringe benefit to attract executive talent to the company’s ranks.

A group of baristas met with Starbucks executives to discuss making the leave policy universal, but executives told them to view it as a very competitive benefits package instead. There was no discussion about making the policy universal.

What Is U.S. Federal Law on Parental Leaves?

A parental leave applies to both parents and is a leave from work taken after a child is born, adopted, or placed as a foster child. Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which is federal law, parents may take this leave any time during the first year of having the child with them.

psrenting or psrensl leave

The FMLA does not require employers to pay employees for the time off, but it does require larger employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to workers who need to take the time in caring for a new child.

Did you know that the United States, Suriname, Papua New Guinea and several Pacific Ocean island countries are the only countries the world that do not have laws requiring employers to pay for parental leaves?

Given the status of parental leave in the U.S., Starbucks has been quite generous in making its parental leaves “paid” time off.

Do You Have Legal Questions About Pregnancy Leaves or Parental Leaves?

If you have questions, our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates are glad to help. We can provide you with seasoned legal advice based on more than 20 years of employment law experience.

 

 

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