Sexual Harassment Claims: Beyond the Rich and Famous

In the last few months, allegations of sexual harassment against famous entertainers and high-profile politicians have flooded the news headlines.   However, sexual harassment in the workplace is not limited to Hollywood and “inside the beltway” politicians.  In the wake of these recent claims of sexual harassment, now is an appropriate time for all employers (big and small) to reflect on their own workplace culture and policies to make sure that the work environment is free from sexual harassment.   Here are three tips for employers to prevent sexual harassment at work.

  1. Implement a Zero Tolerance Sexual Harassment Policy: Employee handbooks should contain a strong anti-harassment policy. This policy should define what is considered sexual harassment, state that the employer will not tolerate sexual harassment, and explain the steps that an employee should follow if he/she believes that they are the victim of (or observe) sexual harassment.
  2. Training: At a minimum, all managers should routinely receive sexual harassment training. In addition, if an employer is concerned that sexual harassment may be occurring in the workplace, then all employees should receive sensitivity training to educate employees about sexual harassment.
  3. Prompt Investigation: In the event that an employee complains about sexual harassment, the employer should immediately investigate and make sure that the complaining party is not retaliated against for making a good faith claim of sexual harassment. In many situations, it is necessary to separate the complaining employee from the alleged harasser until the investigation is complete.  However, the complaining party should not be transferred or forced to do extra work, as this may be viewed as retaliation.  At the conclusion of the investigation, appropriate punishment should be implemented if sexual harassment has occurred.

For more information on sexual harassment policies and investigations, please contact Scott A. Mirsky at (301) 664-7710 or samirsky@mirskylawgroup.com.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or to provide legal advice. Laws differ by state and jurisdiction. The information on this blog may not apply to every reader. You should not take any legal action based upon the information contained on this blog without first seeking professional counsel. Your use of the blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Mirsky Law Group, LLC.

Revisited a Year Later: The Montgomery County Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law Turns One

A year ago, Montgomery County became one of the first counties in the nation to require that employers provide employees with paid sick leave. In general, under the Montgomery County Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law employees must be allowed to earn a minimum of 56 hours of paid sick and safe leave each year.  If the employer has few than five employees, then the employee must be allowed to earn at least 32 hours of paid leave and 24 hours of unpaid leave each year.  While most employers comply with these requirements (and many even provide more than 56 hours of paid sick leave on an annual basis), compliance with some of the detailed requirements are more problematic.  For example, an employer in Montgomery County must:

  • Allow its employees to carry over 56 hours of leave to the next calendar year, unless an employer gives its employees their full leave entitlement at the beginning of each calendar year.
  • Allow its employees to accrue paid sick leave from the first day of employment.
  • However, an employer can restrict the employee from using paid sick and safe leave during the first 90 days of employment.
  • Provide its employees with a written statement (or an online portal) which shows the employee how many hours of paid time off they have available to use.
  • Notify their employees that they are entitled to sick and safe leave.  The notice must comport with certain requirements or include the model notice prepared by Montgomery County.
  • Keep records concerning employees accrual or use of earned sick leave for at least three years.

All employers who have employees located in Montgomery County should review their leave polices to ensure compliance with the Montgomery County Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law.

For more information on employment policies, please contact Scott A. Mirsky at (301) 664-7710 or samirsky@mirskylawgroup.com.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or to provide legal advice. Laws differ by state and jurisdiction. The information on this blog may not apply to every reader. You should not take any legal action based upon the information contained on this blog without first seeking professional counsel. Your use of the blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Mirsky Law Group, LLC.