Employment Law Blog

Whether it happens to a child on a playground or an adult in the workplace, bullying is always harmful, always wrong, and never acceptable. Taunts, teasing, threats, or intimidation are all examples of abusive behavior that can constitute bullying. Sadly, more and more American workers are subjected to workplace bullying by superiors, colleagues, and others. A 2021 survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute found that 30% of American adults reported being bullied at work (including remote work), while an additional 19% observed bullying in their workplace. That translates into 76.3 million American workers directly impacted by workplace bullying.

None of us are defined by a single trait or characteristic, and many individuals share more than one class of traits that may make them targets of legally prohibited discrimination or harassment. Indeed, as the #MeToo Movement has reminded us, perpetrators of sexual harassment may be more likely to target individuals with multiple protected traits, including people with disabilities and people of color, for abuse.

Judges are increasingly recognizing these forms of “intersectional” discrimination and harassment in cases involving plaintiffs whose claims are based on their membership in more than one protected class. 

The #MeToo Movement has inspired workers to engage in solidarity with colleagues experiencing sexual harassment, and many of these courageous acts entitle individuals to anti-retaliation protections under civil rights, anti-discrimination, labor, and whistleblower protection laws. While it is true that individuals targeted for abuse in the workplace bear the brunt of the dignitary harm and trauma caused by such misconduct, all employees are detrimentally impacted by sexual harassment in the workplace, as  reports prepared by an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) task force and by Deloitte both discuss. As such, all employees have a moral (and at times, legal) obligation to stand by our colleagues and against harassment and discrimination.

The #MeToo movement successfully challenged decades of pervasive sexual harassment in the workplace and all facets of society. Since then, the movement's impact has reverbated throughout society, changing attitudes and spurring much-needed change. Workers, consumers, and citizens involved in the movement have not only held corporations and employers accountable for enabling sexual misconduct, but have also lobbied for legal reforms to effect meaningful social change.

This October marks the fifth anniversary of the #MeToo movement. Decades of silence and tacit acceptance by employers of workplace sexual harassment were finally, loudly, and justifiably challenged. The combined courageous voices of millions of working women, building on decades of persistent activism, made clear that this abhorrent conduct would no longer be dismissed or swept under the rug. Those who engage in sexual harassment and employers allowing such acts to go unchecked and unpunished would at long last be held to account.

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After multiple amendments and months of delays, New York City’s Pay Transparency Act (NYC Local Law 32) will finally become effective on November 1, 2022. This law - which requires employers with more than four employees to publish the minimum and maximum pay range for any advertised position - is a welcome development for advancing the goal of pay equity, as...

A new documentary on Netflix called White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch explores A&F’s pop culture reign and how it thrived on exclusion. In the documentary, O&G partner Jahan Sagafi discusses his work prosecuting the nationwide race and gender discrimination class action against this "All-American" fashion company that was sued for behaving in such an unamerican way.

Fair access to loans is a civil right. Our livelihood depends on credit because we use loans to advance our education, purchase a home or a car, or keep our businesses running. This is why it is critical for lenders to stop blocking entire categories of consumers from accessing loans simply because they are not U.S. citizens and instead evaluate their application based on their credit history and profile.

The #MeToo movement isn’t only about revealing abusive conduct by Hollywood moguls and television celebrities. Empowered in part by the strength of this movement, women and men employed in low-wage hourly jobs at McDonald’s and other fast-food franchises are stepping forward to expose sexual harassment and hostile work environments.