THE WRONG WAY TO ATTEMPT TO AVOID SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIMS

12.10.2018

As a natural reaction to the media coverage of the “me too” movement and the New York State anti-sexual regulations it spawned, discussion of the issue may well be at an all-time high. To the extent these discussions are focused on best practices to prevent sexual harassment and thereby avoid sexual harassment claims, they will generally be a great benefit to employers. However, one strategy mentioned in those discussions as a possible solution to the sexual harassment problem, avoiding all one-on-one meetings or interactions with possible complainants, could easily lead to liability for a different category of discrimination. 

For example a male supervisor who thinks it wise to avoid all one-on-one meetings with women with the thought to avoid sexual harassment complaints is thereby committing gender discrimination if not having those meetings deprives the women of career opportunities, mentoring advice, networking or any other benefit of such meetings. Gender discrimination liability is just as significant, if not more significant, than sexual harassment liability.

Accordingly, the new anti-sexual training all employers in New York must provide by October 2019, should be conducted by experienced trainers. Please contact us with any questions:pkeneally@underbergkessler.com or 585-258-2882.

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