The Chicago City Council enacted amendments to the City’s Human Rights Ordinance that take effect July 1, 2022. The amendments:

  • Expand the definitions of the sexual harassment and sexual orientation;
  • Require new written policy and notice content;
  • Require more extensive harassment training;
  • Establish a longer statute of limitations for employees to file complaints under the City’s Human Rights Ordinance and a longer period for the Commission to notify employers of such complaints; and
  • Impose new penalties for failing to comply with notice, posting, and training requirements and steeper penalties for remaining provisions of violating the Human Rights Ordinance.

The City’s Ordinance applies to companies employing at least one employee within the city. Therefore, the amendments apply to virtually every Chicago employer.

Continue reading the full GT Alert.

Included in the over 650 new laws that went into effect in Texas Sept. 1 was a little-publicized but important set of amendments to the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA), the state version of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which protects individuals from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation based on their protected characteristics, including age, sex, race, national origin, color, disability, and religion.

Continue reading the full GT Alert.

New York employers have until Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, to train each of their employees on sexual harassment prevention. The training must be conducted annually thereafter, and must satisfy all of the statutory requirements for content and interaction. Employers who have not yet conducted training should do so as soon as possible. For more information, including training parameters, see our October 2018 GT Alert here.

Contact your Greenberg Traurig attorney to schedule training or for guidance on compliance with these training requirements and related employment laws.

For more on laws and other legal developments related to sexual harassment in the workplace, click here.

New York State and New York City have passed new legislation in an effort to strengthen prohibitions against sexual harassment in the workplace. Last month, we reported on those new developments (See GT Alert, “New Anti-Sexual Harassment Compliance Mandates for New York State and New York City in Full Swing,” September 2018).

By Oct. 9, 2018, all employers must adopt the state’s model anti-sexual harassment policy or a customized version meeting the state’s minimum standards. After issuing draft documents in August, the state issued, on Oct. 1, final model policy and training documents. As detailed below, many of the changes made last week to the draft policies and documents are worth noting.

To read the full GT Alert, click here.

For New York employers who may not have closely monitored legal developments in the human resources and sexual harassment sphere over the summer, now is a good time to become familiar with the significant legal changes in effect, especially those with pressing deadlines.

With increasing national media coverage of sexual harassment claims, both New York State and New York City have passed new legislation in an effort to strengthen prohibitions against sexual harassment in the workplace.

The laws place new mandates on New York employers, and in some cases, require compliance within a tight timeframe. It is therefore critical for New York State and New York City employers to be aware of these requirements and to develop an action plan for timely and strategic compliance.

As detailed below, the most pressing deadline is for the requirement that New York City employers must display a new sexual harassment prevention poster and distribute to new employees a sexual harassment fact sheet. That deadline is Sept. 6, 2018.

Continue Reading>

Marvin A. Kirsner authored an article in Corporate Counsel titled “Sexual Harassment Settlements With Nondisclosure Agreement No Longer Deductible.” The article explores a provision in the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which updates the tax code so that payments made for sexual harassment or abuse claims are no longer tax deductible if the settlement includes a nondisclosure agreement.

To read the full article, click here.

A provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Tax Act will increase the “after-tax cost” for companies to settle “sexual harassment” or “sexual abuse” claims if they wish to maintain a “nondisclosure agreement” of the details. The law will disallow a business deduction for the amounts paid to settle such claims (including attorneys’ fees) if the settlement contains a nondisclosure agreement. This provision addresses the use of nondisclosure agreement terms to possibly prevent public disclosure of sexual harassment allegations or reports.

Continue Reading.

In a unanimous decision due to be published on May 15, the Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that employers can be held liable for failing to protect employees from harassment based upon sexual orientation. 

In Patino v. Birken Manufacturing Company, a former employee of the jet engine component maker Birken Manufacturing, Co. accused the company of failing to take reasonable steps to prevent his coworkers from harassing him based on his sexual orientation over a period of many years.  The state’s highest court rejected the employer’s argument that hostile work environment claims are limited to sexual harassment cases.  Importantly, the decision appears to be the first supreme court decision from any state to expressly hold that harassment based on sexual orientation is actionable to the same extent as sexual harassment or racial harassment.  The court also rejected the company’s claim that the jury’s award of $94,500 in damages was too high.

Employers in all states should take notice of this significant decision.  Connecticut is one of 20 states, along with the District of Columbia, whose anti-discrimination laws cover sexual orientation.

New to 2020, Illinois employers of all sizes must conduct sexual harassment prevention training by Dec. 31. This training requirement is part of the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act, which requires employers to provide workplace harassment training to all employees at least once a year.

Read the full GT Alert, “Illinois Workplace Harassment Training Deadline Fast-Approaching.”