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Study Finds Connection Between Male Unemployment Rates And Sexual Harassment

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday blog

Complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of sex discrimination are up approximately 10% over the last 20 years. A recent study of EEOC and Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that complaints of sex discrimination go up when unemployment rates for men are higher than for women. The study looked at sex discrimination claims in each state and the District of Columbia from 2009 through 2016 as well as unemployment rates in each state. When unemployment rates for men were higher than those for women in a particular state, complaints of sex discrimination spiked. And the greater the disparity between men’s unemployment and women’s unemployment, the greater the number of complaints. Conversely, when unemployment rates for women were higher than for men in a particular state, complaints of sex discrimination dropped off. The author of the study argues that as women progress toward economic parity that presents a threat to the way men view their roles at work and in society in general. Sex discrimination is a way to attempt to assert control in response.

When Male Unemployment Rates Rise, So Do Sexual Harassment Claims

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The Sexual Harassment Factor

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

No doubt almost everyone is aware that Bill O’Reilly and Fox News parted ways last week following new allegations of sexual harassment. This happened less than a year after Fox News had to get rid of Roger Ailes for the same reason. The New York Times published an article on April 1 detailing a series of sexual harassment allegations against O’Reilly and how Fox News and its parent company repeatedly stood by O’Reilly and paid out tens of millions to settle with the women who complained. In fact, Fox News settled two of the sexual harassment cases against O’Reilly after Ailes left. It also extended O’Reilly’s contract. Women at Fox News questioned whether the company was serious about creating a different culture as it had promised last year following the Ailes scandal. Those questions still remain.

What drove O’Reilly out was most likely dollars rather than a desire to do the right thing. A month ago, there were at least 30 nationally broadcast commercials each night on “The O’Reilly Factor.” In the weeks following the article, most major brands withdrew all advertising dollars from the program.

For his part, O’Reilly (and Ailes for that matter) has denied all of the allegations. But consider this. The women who made the allegations against O’Reilly worked for him and/or appeared on his show. If there was a place to advance your career, his show was it. Yet many still complained, even though they feared it could ruin their careers.

The Ailes and O’Reilly fiascos should result in corporations taking the issue of sexual harassment more seriously. As an employment attorney I’ve consulted with many women who told me of sexual harassment but were concerned that if they complained they would suffer retaliation. Hopefully after these two high profile men were forced out, more women with legitimate complaints will be willing to come forward and more employers will address the concerns appropriately.

Bill O’Reilly Thrives at Fox News, Even as Harassment Settlements …

Why Was Bill O’Reilly Really Fired? – The Atlantic

Bill O’Reilly Is Forced Out at Fox News – The New York Times

 

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Inside Job

Jon Allison

Monday Blog
Last week a group of four former store detectives filed a class-action lawsuit against CVS alleging that it directed them to racially profile African-American and Hispanic customers and then retaliated against the detectives when they complained that the practice was discriminatory.  The plaintiffs say that two loss-prevention supervisors for the Manhattan and Queens store locations on a regular basis told the detectives to profile African-American and Hispanic customers because they were the ones who were always the thieves.  After complaining to superiors, the plaintiffs say they were subjected to false criticism of their performance.  Three of the plaintiffs were then terminated earlier this year while one was terminated before that.  One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs said that, while there have been profiling cases filed by customers, “this is the first time a group of employees has banded together to provide an inside account and expose the blatant racial profiling policy at one of the largest retailers in the world.”
Find more information here.

The Expectation That Dads Prioritize Work
Josh Levs was the fatherhood reporter for CNN in the summer of 2013 when his wife gave birth prematurely while suffering from a severe pregnancy complication.  Months prior to the premature birth of his daughter he had requested 10 weeks of paid leave.  At the time CNN offered 10 weeks of paid leave under CNN’s leave policies.  He found out that the 10 weeks of leave only applied to men in cases of adoption or a surrogate birth.  He asked if CNN would change the policy.  He was told no 11 days after the premature birth of his daughter.  Instead, when his family needed him most, he got 2 weeks of leave which was at that point used up.  He filed an EEOC complaint which is not yet resolved.  CNN has, however, changed its policy.  Read this article for more details.

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Blog Update: Supreme Court Issues Decision On Religious Accomodation

Jon Allison

On Monday the Supreme Court issued its decision in the Samantha Elauf/Abercrombie & Fitch case ruling in favor of Elauf.  The Court held “Title VII forbids adverse employment decisions made with a forbidden motive, whether this motive derives from actual knowledge, a well-founded suspicion or merely a hunch.”  Abercrombie denied Elauf employment because she wore a headscarf to her interview that Abercrombie says conflicted with its dress code.  But Abercrombie did not tell Elauf of the dress code during the interview so Elauf did not know to request a religious accommodation allowing her to wear it.  Abercrombie then argued that Elauf never brought it up, so Abercrombie should be off the hook.  The Supreme Court found that Abercrombie at least suspected that Elauf wore the headscarf for religious reasons and it could have easily offered her the accommodation of allowing her to wear it.  This case makes it clear that employers can’t just put their head in the sand when it appears an applicant may request a religious accommodation.

This is an update on Jon’s original blog post from March 2, 2015 titled We Don’t Allow Hats. You Got A Problem With That? .  Click on the title to read the original post.

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Egregious Sexual Harassment And Retaliation Condoned At Arizona State Mental Hospital

Jon Allison

Monday Blog
A security officer for Arizona State Mental Hospital was sexually harassed for years and retaliated against after making numerous complaints about the harassment.
Beginning in 2009, the victim was subjected to a work environment permeated by unwelcome, offensive sexual remarks, sexual messages, pornographic text videos and aggressive physical contacts and gestures.
For example, one of her supervisors, Sergeant Moreno, sent a series of inappropriate telephonic communications, including pornographic videos of group anal sex.  He also sent pictures of himself and asked the victim to send back pictures of herself.  He repeatedly asked to kiss her, violently bumped into her, invaded her personal space and touched her inappropriately.
She complained in November 2009 and a number of times after that to her superiors and human resources personnel.  She asked that Moreno be directed to stay away from her or be transferred.  Instead, he remained her supervisor and retaliated.  Other supervisors and employees were complicit in the harassment and retaliation.
The victim was subjected to unwarranted discipline, less desirable job assignments and verbal and physical intimidation.  One hospital employee even told the victim there would be a hit put out on her for her complaints.
The victim filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in April and July 2010.  After investigating, the EEOC found in 2011 that the victim had been sexually harassed and retaliated against.  Still, nothing changed.  In fact, Moreno continued to supervise the victim.
A federal lawsuit was filed in 2012.  Finally, after years of internal and external complaints, egregious sexual harassment and retaliation, the state settled the case for $250,000 plus legal fees.  Moreno was terminated, but not for sexual harassment.  Rather, he was terminated for downloading pornography at work and other misconduct unrelated to the sexual harassment.
When the state was asked for any documents related to any investigation into the victim’s numerous complaints over the years, the response was they couldn’t locate anything.  A number of high ranking officials were placed on administrative leave, including the health department director, state hospital CEO and the health department’s lead attorney.  Read more here.

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