Sexual Harassment

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    A recent change in the Federal Rules of Evidence, which govern trials in federal court, includes an amendment to Rule 412 that makes it more difficult for employers and others to defend against civil sex harassment claims in federal court. Under the old rules, Rule 412 shielded victims of rape or sexual abuse who testified...
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    The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld Rosemary Martin's sexual harassment and constructive discharge award against Cavalier Hotel Corporation and its vice president, Daniel Batchelor. Cavalier, located in Virginia Beach, hired Martin as a cashier in 1987 and later promoted her to director of payroll and personnel, a...
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    In our February newsletter, we reported on a case in which a male employee fired for sexual harassment sued his employer for defamation, based upon negative references given to potential employers. Duffy v. Leading Edge Prods. (5th Cir. 1995). Although the court noted that the company's decision to terminate Jeffrey Duffy may have...
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    Employees falsely accused of sexual harassment are fighting back. Recently, a Virginia prison warden, David Garraghty, sued Gloria Williams, a subordinate employee, for defamation and infliction of emotional distress. Williams had left a memorandum, in which she accused Garraghty of harassment and retaliation, in an envelope on...
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    In a somewhat unusual case, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a Virginia jury's verdict awarding a former employee of a Virginia hotel corporation a total of $124,000 in damages. The case strongly suggests that employers' sexual harassment policies should provide employees with more than one avenue of complaint when...
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    More and more employers are requiring nonunion employees and job applicants to sign agreements providing for the resolution of employment disputes through arbitration or other similar alternatives to litigation. Such agreements can be very beneficial to employers, but a recent Ninth Circuit decision also cautions employers to draft...
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    The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has authority over Arizona, addressed quid pro quo sexual harassment in a recent decision. As many of you know, there are two types of sexual harassment: hostile work environment and quid pro quo. A hostile work environment exists when the harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive as...
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    A superior court jury in Glendale, California, has awarded $1,783,549 to a former employee who had been terminated on the basis of allegations of sexual harassment. Ralph Cotran, 41 years old, was a senior vice president and western international manager at Rollins Hudig, Hall, an insurance brokerage firm, for over five...
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    A product manager in Kansas sued her employer for sexual harassment after her supervisor told her that she needed to wear shorter skirts, bat her eyes, and flirt with a vendor representative in any way she could in order to get better product prices. The product manager, Leann Schweitzer-Reschke, also alleged that her supervisor...
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    Because sexual harassment investigations tend to concentrate on the alleged harasser's conduct and the rights of the alleged victims, most employers overlook the rights of the alleged harasser and possible legal exposure for the violation of those rights. Allegations of sexual harassment often impact on the alleged harasser's...
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