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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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Ohio’s Minimum Wage Going Up

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

On January 1, 2017 the minimum wage in Ohio will increase from $8.10 an hour to $8.15 an hour. Ohio employers with gross receipts of more than $299,000 must pay Ohio minimum wage.  Ohio employers with gross receipts of less than that must pay federal minimum wage which is currently $7.25 an hour. Back in 2006 voters in Ohio passed an amendment to Ohio’s Constitution tying the minimum wage in Ohio to the rate of inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index. With the election coming up and because federal law trumps state law (pun intended), it’s worth a look at the positions of the presidential candidates on the federal minimum wage. Clinton is in favor of raising the federal minimum wage to $12.00 an hour. An Ohioan working 40 hours a week would see an increase in yearly earnings from $15,080 (which is below the poverty threshold for a family of at least 2) to $24,960. Trump has recently voiced support for raising the federal minium wage to $10.00 an hour which would result in yearly earnings of $20,800.

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Female Law Partner’s Gender Bias Suit Against Her Current Employer Raises Concerns of Pay Equality

Katherine Neff

Kerrie L. Campbell filed suit against her current employer, the law firm Chadbourne & Parke, alleging that she was shut out of leadership positions and paid far less than male partners at her level. According to Ms. Campbell, Chadbourne’s management committee, which determines the compensation for the firm’s partners, is made up of five men, who award male partners more points, which translate into higher dollar compensation, than they do to women. After complaining to the managing partner of pay inequaility, Ms. Campbell alleges that she was told her employment would end at the end of August and her pay was substantially reduced to that of an entry-level associate.
Other women have filed similar suits against their large law firm employers. Last month, Traci M. Ribeiro sued her firm Sedgwick, a large San Francisco based law firm, alleging that the “male-dominated culture” resulted in female lawyers being denied equal pay and equal promotions. Similarly, Kamee Verdrager’s case against her former employer Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsly and Popeo of Boston, is set for trial on her gender discrimination claims. Ms. Verdrager contends that the firm reduced her seniority by two years — which affected her level of pay — then later fired her.
In 2014, Sky Analytics, who provides spend management software to corporate legal departments, released its first ever gender study using actual billing records from law firms. The study, along with a National Association of Women Lawyers study on gender biases in the legal profession, highlighted the pay disparity between men and women. We blogged about these studies in 2014.
Hopefully the publicity surrounding these lawsuits, along with the 2014 studies on gender biases in the legal profession, will empower other women to continue coming forward and motivate law firms to cease their unequal billing practices.
Female Lawyer’s Gender-Bias Suit Challenges Law Firm Pay Practices by Elizabeth Olsonaug of The New York Times. Published August 31, 2016.

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NLRB Says Graduate Students Are Employees

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Last week the National Labor Relations Board held that graduate students who work as teaching or research assistants at private universities are employees and have the right to engage in collective bargaining. The Board found that the student assistants were employees where they “perform work, at the direction of the university, for which they are compensated.” It further held that, even though they were students as well, “statutory coverage is permitted by virtue of an employment relationship” and “is not foreclosed by the existence of some other, additional relationship that the Act does not reach.” Seems simple enough, but it isn’t. In fact, the Board has reversed itself on this issue several times in the last 16 years. The current Board says that the prior ruling holding that teaching and research assistants were not employees lacks any convincing justification for the ruling and deprives an entire category of workers of the protections afforded to employees. In the prior decision the Board said teaching and research assistants could not be employees because their primary relationship with the university was an educational one rather than an economic one.

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Randy Freking Invited to Roundtable Discussion with Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez

Freking Myers & Reul

UPDATE:  Live feed of the roundtable discussion will begin at 11:30 a.m.  Follow this link:

https://www.facebook.com/InnovationOhio/

On Wednesday, July 20, United States Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez, will hold an open press round table discussion concerning local and national efforts to advance paid family leave. Secretary Perez will be joined by Ohio lawmakers, business owners, workers that are impacted by paid leave, and Randy Freking of Freking Myers & Reul.

The event will take place at Union Hall in Cincinnati (1311 Vine Street) from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

As a participant in the roundtable discussion, Randy will share his belief that paid family leave is good for business by recruiting and retaining outstanding employees. “The shame of the Family and Medical Leave Act is that it only provides 12 weeks of job protection and, worse, does not require that employees be paid during their medical leave. At our firm, we provide for paid leave of at least 90 days and it has resulted in an outstanding record of employee retention. It’s the right thing to do.”

RandyFreking2011-profile

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