Posts tagged Sexual Harassment

The Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) has always contained a two layered statute of limitations for employees to bring lawsuits against their employers for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.  Formerly, employees had one year to file an administrative complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) from the date of the alleged discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.  If an employee did not comply with this administrative requirement, then the employee’s complaint would be subject to dismissal for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.  Even if an employee were to file a timely administrative complaint, they were subject to a one year statute of limitations for filing a civil action from the time they received a right to sue letter from the DFEH.  The Stop Harassment and Reporting Extension Act (“SHARE Act”) has greatly expanded employee rights. (AB 9, 2019).

As the #MeToo Movement placed a glaring spotlight on sexual harassment in the workplace, outgoing California Governor Jerry Brown signed several bills aimed at curbing sexual harassment last year, including SB 1343.

The DFEH recently released its Sample Equal Opportunity Policy. The Sample Policy is available in PDF and Word form on the DFEH’s employment resources page at https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/resources/posters-and-brochures-and-fact-sheets/poster-and-brochure-tab-list/?target=employment.

Employers who are faced with sexual harassment or sexual abuse claims by a current or former employee now have another problem to consider – are the settlement payment and related attorney’s fees incurred in settling the claim deductible?  Unfortunately, the answer to that question may now be no.

In Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC., the California Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether a franchisor, such as Domino’s Pizza, LLC., can be held vicariously liable for claims of alleged sexual harassment by an employee of a franchisee, such as an individually owned Domino’s Pizza store.  The court framed the issue as follows:  “Does a franchisor stand in an employment or agency relationship with the franchisee and its employees for purposes of holding it vicariously liable for workplace injuries allegedly inflicted by one employee of a franchisee while supervising another employee of the franchisee?”  The court held a franchisor is not vicariously liable for claims of alleged workplace torts by employees of a franchisee unless. . . .

Relying on data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Daily Journal reports sexual harassment claims have generally declined over the last decade from 15,222 claims in 1999 to 11,717 claims in 2010 (a decline of approximately 23%).  However, in 2010, sexual harassment claims by men rose to an all-time high of approximately 16% of the sexual harassment claims filed.  The Daily Journal ...

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