Articles by Rachel Ablin, Esq.
Allegations of sexual harassment or other workplace misconduct must be taken seriously in any business. For broker-dealers and other businesses regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), thorough investigations are a must. However, financial services firms must also be deliberate about how they choose to disclose the results of such investigations, being ever aware of the risk of defamation lawsuits from the targets of such investigations.
Noted astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City and star of Cosmos, is the latest celebrity accused of workplace sexual harassment. In a public statement posted on Facebook on Saturday, December 1 titled “On Being Accused,” Tyson addressed the allegations made public a day earlier and categorically denied any wrongdoing.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released preliminary data about sexual harassment claims the agency received and addressed in fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018). That data shows that the number of sexual harassment complaints received was up more than 12 percent over fiscal year 2017 numbers.
For the second time in as many months, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a series of separate but similar lawsuits against private employers across the country, alleging workplace harassment.
In one of the latest incidents in a recent string of sexual harassment allegations against high-ranking corporate executives, Leslie “Les” Moonves – the CEO of CBS Corporation (CBS) – is facing accusations that he sexually harassed six women with whom he had business relationships. The CBS board is investigating the claims and has retained outside counsel to ensure independence.
The #MeToo movement has significantly increased recognition of, and simulated a national conversation about, workplace sexual harassment over the last year. However, employers should also remember there are other serious types of employment misconduct that can have repercussions for the organization if ignored. One of those issues is bullying.
The #MeToo movement has impacted both Hollywood and our elected government officials, holding powerful men accountable for sexual harassment that in some cases, spanned decades. In many instances, consequences have been both swift and significant.
The #metoo movement has done more than create an unprecedented awareness of sexual assault; it also led to lawmakers introducing and passing legislation to address sexual assault in Congress. In the wake of Congressional sexual assault scandals involving sitting legislators and candidates, the Senate Anti-Harassment Training Resolution of 2017 was passed.
When choosing an investigator or team to look into alleged workplace misconduct, organizations must determine whether to use internal resources or to bring in third party investigators from outside the company. When using internal personnel to conduct interviews, gather evidence and make recommendations, companies can benefit from the investigator’s in-depth knowledge of the organization. However, relying on in-house staff to make recommendations also comes with some potential pitfalls that could be avoided by using an external third party.