The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released its FY 2018 sexual harassment data today – highlighting its work over the past fiscal year to address the pervasive problem of workplace harassment. What You Should Know: EEOC Leads the Way in Preventing Workplace Harassment details the EEOC’s efforts to enforce the law, to educate and train workers and employers, and to share its expertise on new solutions to reduce harassing conduct in the workplace. Based on preliminary data, in FY 2018, the EEOC filed 66 harassment lawsuits, including 41 that included allegations of sexual harassment and recovered nearly $70 million for sexual harassment claims through litigation and administrative enforcement in FY 2018, up from $47.5 million in FY 2017.
For more about the report read here.
The U.S. District Court has approved a settlement between Alorica, Inc. and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $3.5 million to resolve a sexual harassment lawsuit. According to the EEOC, the company subjected male and female customer service employees to harassment, including a sexually hostile work environment, by managers and coworkers. The EEOC also alleged that the onsite human resources staff did not properly address the harassment despite repeated complaints by employees. The $3.5 million will be distributed among the class members from the company’s Fresno and Clovis, California facilities.
Read more about this case here.
On September 30, 2018, Governor Brown signed SB 826, which requires that by 2020, a domestic general corporation or foreign corporation that is a publicly held corporation, whose principal executive offices are located in California, must have a minimum of one female on its board of directors. By the end of the 2021 calendar year, the new law requires an increase in the required minimum number to 2 female directors if the corporation has 5 directors or to 3 female directors if the corporation has 6 or more directors. Read more about the new law here.
On September 30, 2018, Governor Brown signed into legislation SB 1343, which requires all employers with 5 or more employees, including temporary or seasonal employees, to provide at least 2 hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisory employees and at least one hour of sexual harassment training to all nonsupervisory employees by January 1, 2020, and once every 2 years thereafter. The bill also requires the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to develop or obtain 1-hour and 2-hour online training courses on the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace, and to post the courses on the department’s Internet Web site.
Read more about AB 1343 here.
In a major victory for Uber Technologies, Inc., the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a lower court’s ruling, which held that a lawsuit filed by current and former drivers could proceed as a class action. In finding for Uber, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the claims against Uber for misclassifying their drivers as independent contractors must be filed individually as opposed to a class action, thereby dramatically reducing the value of these claims. The Uber drivers alleged that Uber misclassified them as independent contractors, thereby denying the drivers reimbursements, tips, and other protections required for employees. Although the drivers had filed a class action against Uber, they had signed an arbitration agreement that included a class waiver. However, the lower court held that the arbitration agreement was unenforceable, and thus ruled that the case could proceed as a class action. Uber then appealed, and the Ninth Circuit ruled that “[a]s the class certification by the district court was premised on the district court’s determination that the arbitration agreements were unenforceable, the class certification must also be reversed.” This decision highlights the importance of employers including mandatory arbitration agreements (which have a class waiver) as part of their workplace policies.
For any questions about implementing an arbitration agreement that contains a class waiver for your workplace, please give us a call at Toll Free 1-562-888-0126 or email email@example.com for more information.
Read the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision here.