Important Highlights of 2018 and Our Assistance for a Better 2019: RPJ’s Workplace Training Programs

Important Highlights of 2018 and Our Assistance for a Better 2019: RPJ’s Workplace Training Programs
December 31, 2018 RPJ Law

December 31, 2018

As 2018 recedes into history, we reflect on a new era of sweeping change in how we perceive, discuss, address, and hopefully prevent claims of harassment and improper conduct in the workplace.

In 2018, issues of sexual harassment, discrimination, and equality were at the forefront of our public discourse, resulting in the questioning of workplace norms, the downfall of numerous powerful figures, and the passage of extensive new legislation.  A retrospective of this year includes:

  • December 2017:  Federal tax reform legislation signed into law eliminating tax deductions of payments for the settlement of sexual harassment claims
  • January 2018:  Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund founded;  more than one million people around the country participate in the second annual Women’s March
  • February/March 2018:  New York State prosecutors file lawsuit against the Weinstein Company for failing to protect employees from Weinstein’s alleged harassment and abuse;  Weinstein Company files for bankruptcy weeks later
  • April 2018:  Bill Cosby convicted on three counts of sexual assault;  2019 New York State Budget is signed into law, requiring employers to provide sexual harassment prevention training and other measures to combat sexual harassment in the workplace; this new law also notably prohibits nondisclosure agreements concerning claims of sexual harassment unless requested by the accuser, and bans mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims
  • May 2018:  Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act signed into law, requiring sexual harassment prevention training for certain New York City employers and extending the statute of limitations for gender-based harassment claims
  • June 2018:  Not yet halfway through the year, 32 states introduce over 125 pieces of legislation on sexual harassment prevention and policies, an unprecedented number
  • July 2018:  CBS announces investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct against Les Moonves;  Massachusetts and Vermont join numerous other states in banning employers from seeking prior salary history to help end the perpetuation of historic pay inequities;  New Jersey’s new Equal Pay Act takes effect – among the most far reaching in the nation
  • August/September 2018:  California and Delaware join a rapidly increasing number of states expanding their harassment prevention training requirements and anti-discrimination laws
  • September 2018:  Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and United States Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee;  California becomes the first state requiring publicly traded corporations headquartered in the state to have at least one woman on their board of directors by the end of 2019
  • October 2018:  New York State’s new laws requiring sexual harassment prevention training and other anti-discrimination measures take effect;  U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announces FY 2018 data showing significant rise in sexual harassment claims
  • November 2018:  Andrea Stewart-Cousins becomes the first woman elected to lead the New York State Senate;  record number of women elected to U.S. Congress (128 female candidates elected, breaking previous record of 112);  female candidates win over 60% of Congressional seats shifted from previous Republican control
  • December 2018:  USA Gymnastics declares bankruptcy in the wake of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal; Congress passes bill reforming its own sexual harassment prevention procedures

RPJ Live Sexual Harassment Prevention, Anti-Discrimination and Sensitivity Training Programs

At Reavis Page Jump LLP, our lawyers have supported employers and employees in mitigating risk and addressing allegations of harassment and discrimination in the workplace for more than 20 years.  Our work took on new urgency after the “MeToo” movement was sparked by The New York Times’ explosive exposé published on October 5, 2017, referencing RPJ partner Nicole Page and first breaking the news of the widespread allegations of Harvey Weinstein’s egregious sexual misconduct.

In response to the growing framework of laws, broad deterrent and enforcement measures, and profound cultural changes sweeping the nation this historic year, in 2018 we took the lead in developing new live training programs to help companies and organizations reduce the risk of sexual harassment and other forms of unlawful discrimination, and implement best practices in the new year ahead.

Our live training programs are designed to fulfill the legal requirements of sexual harassment prevention training under the laws of New York State, New York City, Connecticut and California.*  Although Massachusetts and New Jersey do not presently require training by law, our professional training programs are also available to employers in these states.  Drawing on our unique perspective from over two decades of deep experience in the legal trenches, our engaging, interactive programs are provided at your workplace (or at our law firm) and are led by attorneys of our firm seasoned in employment law, dispute resolution and dispute prevention.

To learn more about what program is best suited for your company or to schedule training for your employees, please contact Deena R. Merlen by email at dmerlen@rpjlaw.com or by calling our offices at 212-763-4100 (NY) or 203-653-4422 (CT).

*A course description of our programs provides additional information regarding compliance with interactive training requirements.  Please contact us for further information.

This article and announcement are intended only as a general discussion of these issues.  It is not considered to be legal advice or relied upon in regard to particular legal matters. If you seek assistance with a particular employment law or labor law matter, please contact Deena R. Merlen to discuss.

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