Headline news: Policies, procedures essential tools in fight against sexual harassment

July 12, 2016 - by: Ed Carlstedt 0 COMMENTS
Ed Carlstedt

Last week, former Fox News Anchor Gretchen Carlson slapped Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes with a wrongful termination and sexual harassment lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court. The lawsuit alleges that Ailes made “sexually charged comments” to Carlson, including comments about her body and requests for what could be considered quid pro quo sex. According to the allegations, Ailes stated that Carlson and he “should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago . . . .”  Sexual harassment in the office

Carlson’s complaint also attributes numerous other sexually charged statements to Ailes, including comments about her legs and posterior and requests that she wear certain clothes to enhance her figure. Carlson claims that, following her rejection of Ailes’ advances, her contract with Fox News was terminated. Ailes claims that Carlson’s allegations are false and that her contract was terminated due to her television show’s poor ratings.

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Another Period: trial by idiot

Kristin Starnes Gray

The sophomore season of Another Period is now in full swing with last night’s episode having quite a bit of fun with the judiciary. If you haven’t already caught this gem of a comedy, it is an American period sitcom spoofing both reality shows and Downton Abbey. The show follows the outrageous lives of the Bellacourts, the first family of Newport, Rhode Island, and their household staff at the turn of the 20th century. With the first season covering issues such as drug addiction, mental illness, incest, sexual harassment, and abortion, we can expect the second season to continue to merrily cross the line into the taboo.   Uncertain judge

Last night’s episode was no exception, as the groundskeeper (Hamish, played by Brett Gelman) stands trial for the murder of a local gossip columnist with a nasty habit of exposing some of the Bellacourts’ dark family secrets in the Newport Looky-Loo newspaper. Despite the fact that Hamish is innocent (at least of this particular crime), his chances look grim with the fantastically unqualified Lord Frederick Bellacourt (played by Jason Ritter) presiding over the trial. His chances are not helped by the facts that Lillian Bellacourt (played by show co-creator Natasha Leggero) is more concerned with fame than the truth of her upcoming testimony, and Beatrice Bellacourt (played by show co-creator Riki Lindhome) is hoping for a death sentence for her own entertainment.

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Great expectations? Let’s tip off with reasonable expectations

June 27, 2016 - by: David Kim 0 COMMENTS
David Kim

Expectations are a funny thing. They can be good in that they set forth an objective measure for expected performance, goals, and standards of conduct. On the other hand, they can turn bad if they are unreasonable or prone to differing or subjective interpretations.

Watching the NBA draft last week, I was struck by how these young men (most of whom are still teenagers) are immediately saddled with expectations: expectations from fans, expectations from the team and its front office, expectations from NBA analysts and media members, and countless others. Without even having played a second of professional basketball, Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram (who went first and second in the draft to PhilaBasketball going through the hoop at a sports arenadelphia and Los Angeles, respectively) have already been anointed the saviors of 76ers and Lakers basketball for the future. My Boston Celtics selected Jaylen Brown with the third overall pick and were almost universally criticized, by fans and pundits alike, for “reaching” for Brown rather than selecting a better talent at that spot or consummating a trade for the pick. And on and on the analysis went with every subsequent player selected.

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Cooling hot political buttons

May 27, 2016 - by: Robin Kallor 0 COMMENTS
Robin Kallor

During every political campaign, I am reminded of the notion that if we speak about our co-workers or subordinates in the manner in which the American voter speaks about political candidates, we should expect some remediation by our superiors or human resources. For example, if we question the legitimacy of an employee’s birth certificate, criticize an employee’s middle name because it is the same as the first name of a known terrorist, or question whether we are ready for a female boss or whether an applicant for employment is “too old,” we might notice an increase in administrative charges or lawsuits.  The Words Coming Out of My Mouth

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump’s election rhetoric, both in the news and in social media, has us wondering what he will say next. In the work world, human resources professionals and employment lawyers alike spend countless hours developing appropriate harassment/discrimination policies and training their workforces to prevent harassment in the workplace on the basis of any protected characteristic.

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No bluff: Wright demands equal pay on House of Cards

Kristin Starnes Gray

Actress Robin Wright, who plays the formidable Claire Underwood on House of Cards, is the latest in the entertainment world to speak out on equal pay. According to a recent interview, Wright demanded equal pay after statistics showed that her character was just as popular (if not more so) than that of her male costar, Kevin Spacey. In negotiating a pay raise to make her earnings equal to Spacey’s (who reportedly earns half a million per episode), Wright says she threatened “to go public.” Channeling her inner Claire, Wright came out on top. Playing Card-club Queen, isolated on white background with clipp

Wright has joined a growing number of women in the sports and entertainment world who have spoken out on pay inequality. We recently did a post on the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team’s demands for pay equal to their male counterparts. In addition, Patricia Arquette famously spoke about pay inequality at the Oscars in 2015. Jennifer Lawrence later spoke out about earning considerably less than her male costars in American Hustle because of the gender pay gap in Hollywood. Meryl Street sent letters to each member of Congress, accompanied by a copy of the book Equal Means Equal by Jessica Neuwirth, asking them to revive the long dormant Equal Rights Amendment.

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The Boss, your boss, and LGBT rights

April 12, 2016 - by: Brian Kurtz 0 COMMENTS
Brian Kurtz

North Carolina got itself a bit of attention recently when it enacted House Bill 2, which mandates that public restrooms be limited for use based on the individual’s “biological sex.” The effect of this bill was to take away from transgender citizens their ability to choose, based on their individual gender identities, which restroom they will use. There was some fairly prompt backlash. Bruce Springsteen cancelled a Greensboro concert in protest. The NBA is considering relocating its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte.  Fist hand with rainbow flag patterned isolate on white

Relevant to the workplace, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been pursuing LGBT cases since long before the Boss or the Association ever heard of HB2. The EEOC’s position is that it “interprets and enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964′s prohibition of sex discrimination as forbidding any employment discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. These protections apply regardless of any contrary state or local laws.” While Title VII does not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, the EEOC says that it will pursue adverse employment decisions that are the result of “gender stereotyping.” Consider these actions brought by EEOC: read more…

U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team alleges gender wage discrimination

April 01, 2016 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS
Kristin Starnes Gray

Five star players of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo) made headlines this week by filing a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging gender wage discrimination against the U.S. Soccer Federation.  In their charge, the players allege that they should be paid at least as much as (if not more than) the players for the Men’s National Team.  The players filed the charge amid contentious negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement, which have already resulted in a separate lawsuit and serious questions about whether the team will be participating in the Summer Olympic Games in Brazil. Soccer Stars

In their charge, the players allege that they are paid as little as 38 percent of what the Men’s National Team Players earn.  More specifically, the charge alleges that top-tier Women’s National Team Players earn $72,000 per year to play a minimum of 20 exhibition games (“Friendlies,” with no additional pay for games beyond the 20unlike the men’s team which is paid for each game played) and that they earn $99,000 if they win all 20 Friendlies.  Meanwhile, the men earn $100,000 if they lose all their Friendlies and can earn up to approximately $260,000 if they win.  As for the World Cup, the women’s team earned a total of $2 million last year for their championship performance in Canada while the men’s team was paid a total $9 million despite their failure to advance past the top 16 in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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Chris Rock’s #OscarsSoWhite monologue: Don’t try this at work

February 29, 2016 - by: Marilyn Moran 0 COMMENTS
Marilyn Moran

The glitz, glamour, and celebratory nature of last night’s Academy Awards were dimmed by the ongoing controversy about the total lack of racial diversity among Oscar contenders for the last two years. In response, Chris Rock delivered a scathing monologue criticizing the Gold OscarAcademy and its members, the large majority of whom are white and male. As the audience laughed and squirmed in their seats, Rock repeatedly hammered the Hollywood establishment, using humor as a platform to express the collective outrage of the #OscarsSoWhite protest movement.

Of course, exploiting sensitive subjects like race, religion, gender, and age are all in a day’s work for professional comedians like Rock. They enjoy the unfettered privilege of offending the hell out of absolutely everyone so long as it gets a laugh. For the rest of us, however, such divisive humor (even when it is targeted at white males) has no place at work and should be avoided at all costs.

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Don’t matter if you’re black or white

February 16, 2016 - by: Brian Kurtz 0 COMMENTS
Brian Kurtz

Somewhere between outrage, bewilderment, and comedy falls the news that a U.K. production company has cast very very very white actor Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson in Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon, a short film about a rumored post-9/11 road trip involving Liz Taylor, Michael Jackson, and Marlon Brando.  hip hop funk dancer dancing man

There has been much criticism of this particular casting decision, especially against the backdrop of the #OscarsSoWhite campaign. But what about any black actors who believe the casting of a white actor is discriminatory? Turns out they probably don’t have a case.

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Peyton Manning and retirement–Super Bowl lessons on avoiding age claims at work

February 01, 2016 - by: Josh Sudbury 1 COMMENTS
Josh Sudbury

Super Bowl week is here. Everywhere you look (and I mean everywhere) this week, you will be reminded that the “big game” is this Sunday. You’ll be told what kind of chips to munch, the type of pizza to order, the beer, and soft drink to drink, the television or mobile app to watch it on, etc. It’s as if it’s some big media circus instead of a football game! NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 26, 2014: Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning ar

If you listen closely, though, you might also hear about the two teams playing—the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. This year’s match-up offers great story lines that even the best WWE writer couldn’t dream up. The one you are most likely to hear about, though, is the battle between the two quarterbacks. The Broncos will field Peyton Manning (whose records and accomplishments should speak for themselves) and the up-and-coming Cam Newton, who led his team to a 15-1 regular season record and only the second Super Bowl appearance in the franchise’s history. The two quarterbacks’ personalities (and styles) couldn’t be more different. Manning’s persona is strictly business, and he frequently out-humbles even himself during interviews. Cam, on the other hand, is a bit flashier, having drawn negative attention throughout the season as a result of his penchant for dancing after scores.

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