Training Kit




               Maine
               Mandatory
               Training Law
               Summary




    ...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


Does the law apply to my organization?
Maine requires organizations with 15 or more...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


Are there other considerations I should take into account?
In many cases, organizat...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


Frequently Asked Questions

Do managers who are outside the state but manage employ...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


Frequently Asked Questions (continued)

Who can deliver the webinar/webcast trainin...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


How Can CT Impact®: Managing a Harassment-Free Workplace Help You
Comply with Maine...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


How Can CT Impact®: Managing a Harassment-Free Workplace Help You
Comply with Maine...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


How Can Civil Treatment® for Managers Help You Comply with Maine’s
Mandatory Sexual...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


How Can Civil Treatment® for Managers Help You Comply with Maine’s
Mandatory Sexual...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


Federal and State Laws Prohibiting Harassment

Overview
Sexual harassment violates ...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY
                                                         Federal and State Laws Prohi...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY
                                                                         Comparison o...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY
                                                                         Comparison o...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY
                                                                         Comparison o...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


Sample Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy

Discrimination
This organizatio...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


Sample Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy (continued)

Reporting Procedure...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


Federal Cases

Supreme Court Establishes Affirmative Defense

A lifeguard prevailed...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


Federal Cases (continued)

Sexual Harassment Case Results in Reasonable Woman Stand...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


Federal Cases (continued)

Jury Finds for Plaintiff in Hostile Work Environment Cas...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


Federal Cases (continued)

Employer Found Liable for Harassment and Retaliation

A ...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


Federal Cases (continued)

Employer Retaliates Against Plaintiff for Participating ...
MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY


Maine State Court Case

Single Act of Harassment Enough for Hostile Work Environmen...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Maine Mandatory Training Kit

1,893 views
1,814 views

Published on

Published in: Education, Business
0 Comments
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
1,893
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
15
Comments
0
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Maine Mandatory Training Kit

  1. 1. Training Kit Maine Mandatory Training Law Summary Does your learning make a difference?® 2675 Paces Ferry Road • Suite 470 Atlanta • Georgia 30339 Tel: 800.497.7654 • Fax: 770.319.7905 • www.eliinc.com
  2. 2. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Does the law apply to my organization? Maine requires organizations with 15 or more employees to provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees within one year of being hired. Managers must receive additional training on their responsibilities to prevent, detect, and correct harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Training is required only one time. What should the content of the training be? Training must cover, at a minimum, the following: • The illegality of sexual harassment • The definition of sexual harassment under state and federal law • A description of sexual harassment, utilizing examples • The internal complaint process available to the employee • The legal recourse and complaint process available through the State of Maine’s Human Rights Commission, as well as how to contact the Commission • The protection against retaliation under state law • The specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees and the method they must take to ensure immediate and appropriate corrective action in addressing sexual harassment complaints How will I deliver the training? After you have determined what your training will consist of, the next obstacle is to figure out how you will deliver the training to your managers and supervisors. The training may be deployed in the following ways: • Instructor-led training • Online training • Webinars How will I document the training? The state does not provide guidance on what type of documentation should be kept. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  3. 3. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Are there other considerations I should take into account? In many cases, organizations choose to only provide sexual harassment training for their managers in Maine, but this ignores federal law that encourages organizations to provide harassment training to everyone in the organization. By training all your managers, you create a consistent message and minimize risks. The second mistake organizations frequently make is only providing harassment training to managers and neglecting to train their employees. Federal law encourages organizations to provide harassment training to all employees. Furthermore, Maine requires that all employees receive training within one year of being hired. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  4. 4. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Frequently Asked Questions Do managers who are outside the state but manage employees in the state have to take mandatory training? There is no direct guidance under Maine law. Federal law, however, encourages organizations to provide harassment training to everyone in the organization. Are contractors of the company required to take the training? No, they are not. Are employees required to take the training? Yes. All employees must receive training during the first year of employment. Federal law also encourages organizations to provide harassment training to all employees. How often is the mandatory training required? Training is required only once. All employees must be trained within the first year of their employment. How long must the training be? In Maine, there is no time requirement for the training. It, however, must cover specific content. Who can deliver the classroom training? Maine does not specify who can provide this training. What kind of documentation is required for the classroom training? There are no documentation requirements. What are the additional requirements for webinar/webcast training? There are no additional requirements. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  5. 5. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Frequently Asked Questions (continued) Who can deliver the webinar/webcast training? Maine does not specify who can provide this training. What documentation is required for the webcast training? There are no documentation requirements. What are the additional requirements for the online training? There are no additional requirements. What documentation is required for the online training? There are no documentation requirements. What remedies exist for a failure to comply with the training requirement? Technically, violation of the law may result in an order issued by the State of Maine’s Human Rights Commission to comply. In addition and as a practical matter, there are other consequences for failing to provide the required training: • Sends a message to the workforce that prevention of sexual harassment is not a priority • Discourages reporting of sexual harassment • Does not provide alternative avenues for complaint What are the protected categories in Maine? The Maine Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination and retaliation of applicants and employees based on the following: race, color, sex (including sexual harassment and discrimination based on pregnancy, and medical conditions resulting from pregnancy), sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability (including the requirement to accommodate disabilities), genetic information, religion, ancestry, and/or national origin. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  6. 6. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY How Can CT Impact®: Managing a Harassment-Free Workplace Help You Comply with Maine’s Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training Laws? CT Impact®: Managing a Harassment-Free Workplace is a two-hour program that gives managers specific skills and tools they can apply on the job to prevent, detect, and correct sexual harassment in the workplace. Available in online and classroom delivery formats, the course is designed to help organizations comply with state laws mandating training on sexual harassment prevention. Using an interactive, skills-based approach, it provides managers with information and practical guidance on federal and state harassment laws, remedies available to victims, and the roles and responsibilities of everyone to maintain a lawful, respectful work environment. The program is specifically designed to incorporate state legal information, which ELI® can provide to help organizations ensure compliance. The following overview describes the instructor-led program in more detail: Introduction (40 minutes) • Effectively communicating organizational policy • Organization’s anti-harassment policy • Where to report instances of sexual harassment • Roles and responsibilities of the organization, managers, and employees in preventing sexual harassment • Definition of sexual harassment • Types of sexual harassment (Quid Pro Quo, Hostile Work Environment) • Examples of sexual harassment • Federal and state laws prohibiting sexual harassment • Strategies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace • Applicable federal and state cases Welcoming Concerns (40 minutes) • Creating a welcoming environment • Definition of the workplace environment • Review of same-sex harassment and application exercise • Review of third-party harassment and examples • Organization’s open door policy addressing avenues for employees to speak up about their concerns • Applicable federal and state cases Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  7. 7. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY How Can CT Impact®: Managing a Harassment-Free Workplace Help You Comply with Maine’s Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training Laws? (continued) Duty to Act (20 minutes) • Review of a manager’s duty to act and application exercise • Federal and state remedies available for sexual harassment • Overview of retaliation with examples • Organization’s anti-retaliation policy • Ways to prevent retaliation in the workplace • What to do if a supervisor is accused of harassment • Applicable federal and state cases Business Decisions (15 minutes) • Maintaining business relationships with employees • Romantic relationships in the workplace • Objective vs. subjective criteria • Performance management discussions • Applicable federal and state cases Concerns Resolved (5 minutes) • Tips for addressing inappropriate third-party behavior • Action planning activity Reference Materials • Federal and state laws preventing sexual harassment • Federal and state cases • Sample sexual harassment policy Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  8. 8. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY How Can Civil Treatment® for Managers Help You Comply with Maine’s Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training Laws? ELI’s Civil Treatment® for Managers program includes more than two hours of sexual harassment content and includes significant information about federal laws prohibiting harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. If supplemented with some specific information about Maine law provided in this toolkit in the form of a handout to be used in the classroom, it can help employers comply with this requirement. The following modules include content addressing the subjects required under the law: Introduction (45 minutes) • Introduction to the workplace environment and Prescriptive Rules® • Definition of harassment and discrimination • Risks of inappropriate behavior in the workplace “Some meeting...” (45 minutes) • Definition of sexual harassment • Necessary steps to take to prevent harassment in the workplace • Employer, manager, and employee responsibilities in minimizing risk of harassment • Review of organization’s anti-harassment policy and appropriate complaint procedure “What am I supposed to say?” (40 minutes) • Definition of sex-based discrimination • Definition and discussion of retaliation • How to handle a complaint that is filed against the manager or the organization “What’s on your mind?” (35 minutes) • Discussion of a manager’s Duty to Act • Managers should Get Help from Human Resources • Organizations have an obligation to investigate complaints of harassment and discrimination Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  9. 9. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY How Can Civil Treatment® for Managers Help You Comply with Maine’s Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training Laws? (continued) AD HOC MODULES These are optional modules that are included in the course materials and can be added to the Civil Treatment® for Managers program if desired: “Strictly business.” (20 minutes) • Risks of engaging in interoffice relationships • Actions managers should take if they believe a relationship may taint their objectivity • Preventing perceptions of bias and discrimination in decision-making In addition to covering the above modules, facilitators should also make sure to cover the following information in the handouts provided in this toolkit. • Review the Maine definition of sexual harassment. • Distribute and discuss the organization’s anti-harassment policy and complaint procedure. If the organization does not have a policy available, ELI® has provided a sample policy that can be used during the training session. This is typically covered during the “Some meeting…” module. • Discuss other forms of harassment and discrimination under both federal and Maine law. This is covered throughout Civil Treatment® for Managers, but a facilitator should also point participants to the federal and Maine comparison chart provided in this toolkit. • The legal recourse and complaint process available through the State of Maine’s Human Rights Commission, as well as how to contact the Commission. This information can be found on the legal supplement found in this toolkit. • Discuss the remedies available for sexual harassment claims. This information is provided in the federal and Maine comparison chart. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  10. 10. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Federal and State Laws Prohibiting Harassment Overview Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law. This statute prohibits harassment, discrimination, and retaliation based on sex, race, religion, national origin, and color. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces the statute, defines sexual harassment1 as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct of a sexual nature when the following occur: • Submitting to the conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a condition of employment • Submitting to or rejecting the conduct becomes the basis for decisions affecting an employee • Sexual conduct interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment Many states, such as Connecticut and Maine, have adopted this definition of sexual harassment. However, California state law expands the federal categories of harassment to include the following2: • Verbal harassment, including epithets, derogatory comments, or slurs • Physical harassment, including assault, impeding or blocking movement, or any physical interference with normal work or movement, when directed at an individual • Visual harassment, including derogatory posters, cartoons, or drawings • Sexual favors, including unwanted sexual advances, which condition an employment benefit upon an exchange of sexual favors When an employee raises a complaint of sexual harassment or discrimination, managers should let the employee know how the complaint will be handled and that the process has limited confidentiality because other departments, such as Human Resources, may have to be involved. Human Resources or Employee Relations are typically involved because they handle investigations in most organizations. When an organization is made aware of potential harassment or discrimination, it has a responsibility to investigate the claim and take appropriate action. 1 29 C.F.R. §1604.11. 2 2 CCR 7287.6 Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  11. 11. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Federal and State Laws Prohibiting Harassment: Maine Law Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  12. 12. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Comparison of United States/Federal and Maine Laws MAINE UNITED STATES/FEDERAL Maine Human Rights Act Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Prohibits discrimination and retaliation of applicants and Prohibits discrimination and harassment of employees and employees based on: applicants based on: • race • race • color • color • sex (including sexual harassment and discrimination • sex based on pregnancy, and medical conditions resulting • religion (including the requirement to accommodate from pregnancy) religious beliefs) • sexual orientation • national origin • age • physical or mental disability (including the Prohibits retaliation for exercising rights under the law requirement to accommodate disabilities) • genetic pre-disposition Enforcement: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission • religion • ancestry Remedies Available: back pay, lost benefits, front pay, • national origin compensatory and punitive damages of up to $300,000 per occurrence of discrimination, and attorneys’ fees and costs. Sexual harassment is defined consistent with federal law. Enforcement: Maine Human Rights Commission Remedies Available: cease and desist orders, reinstatement, back pay, compensatory and punitive damages (subject to limitations similar to federal law), and attorneys’ fees and costs Potential criminal liability for assault and battery, infliction of emotional distress, etc. or civil penalties may also apply. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  13. 13. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Comparison of United States/Federal and Maine Laws MAINE UNITED STATES/FEDERAL Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) See Maine Human Rights Act (preceding page) Discrimination is prohibited on the basis of pregnancy and Prohibits discrimination and harassment in employment medical conditions that result from pregnancy. If a based on pregnancy, childbirth and related medical pregnant woman is able to work, she may not be treated conditions, and requires equal treatment of pregnant differently from any other person able to work unless women for all purposes, including the provision of benefits. based upon a bona fide occupational qualification. If a See Title VII for available remedies. pregnant woman is unable to work, she may not be treated differently from other employees who are not able to work due to other disabilities or illness. The Act does not require an employer to provide sick leave, a leave of absence, medical benefits or other benefits to a pregnant woman or a woman experiencing a medical condition that results from pregnancy, that it does not also provide to other employees and that it is not otherwise required to provide under other state or federal laws. See Maine Human Rights Act Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) The Act prohibits discrimination based on an actual or Prohibits discrimination and harassment in employment perceived disability, or having a record (past history) of based on an actual or perceived disability, or having a having a disability. The definition of physical or mental record (past history) of having a disability; a person is disability is broader than federal law and includes: (a) a disabled if he or she suffers from a physical or mental physical or mental impairment that: (1) substantially limits impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; the one or more of a person’s major life activities; (2) law requires reasonable accommodation to allow a significantly impairs physical or mental health; or (3) disabled employee to perform the essential functions of the requires special education, vocational rehabilitation or job. See Title VII for available remedies. related services; and (b) absent, artificial or replacement limbs, hands, feet, or vital organs; alcoholism, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; bipolar disorder; blindness or abnormal vision loss; cancer; cerebral palsy; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Crohn’s disease; cystic fibrosis, deafness or abnormal hearing loss; diabetes; substantial disfigurement; epilepsy, heart disease, HIV or AIDS, kidney or renal diseases; lupus; major depressive disorder; mastectomy; mental retardation; multiple sclerosis; muscular dystrophy; paralysis; Parkinson’s disease; pervasive developmental disorders; rheumatoid arthritis; schizophrenia; and acquired brain injury. Further, unlike federal law, the existence of a physical or mental disability is determined without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures such as medication, auxiliary aids or prosthetic devices. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  14. 14. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Comparison of United States/Federal and Maine Laws MAINE UNITED STATES/FEDERAL See Maine Human Rights Act Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) Prohibits discrimination based on age. Unlike federal law, Prohibits discrimination and harassment based on age (40 the Act does not limit discrimination to those ages 40 and and over). over. Further, the Act prohibits employers from requiring employees to retire at or before a specified age or after Remedies Available: back pay, front pay, lost benefits, completion of a specified number of years of service. liquidated damages equal to the amount of back pay, attorneys’ fees Equal Pay Equal Pay Act (EPA) Prohibits the payment of a lower rate to one gender than Requires equal pay for men and women for equal work. to the other for equal work. Family and Medical Leave Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Requires employers to provide up to 10 weeks of unpaid Requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 2 year period for: leave during a 12-month period for: • the birth of a child; • birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child • the adoption of a child 16 years of age or less; • care for child, parent, or spouse with a serious health • the employee’s own serious health condition; condition • to care for a child, parent or spouse with a serious • the employee’s own serious health condition health condition; • to donate an organ for a human organ transplant. Leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule. Employees must be reinstated to the same job at If an employer provides paid family medical leave for fewer the same pay after the leave is over. than 10 weeks, the additional weeks of leave added to attain the total of 10 weeks required may be unpaid. Employees may elect or employers may require the Employees must be reinstated to their same position or to substitution of available paid leave for FMLA leave. an equivalent position after the paid leave is over. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  15. 15. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Sample Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy Discrimination This organization is an equal opportunity employer. The organization will not discriminate in regard to any term, condition, or privilege of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or any other legally protected characteristic. Harassment The organization is committed to providing a work environment that is free from unlawful harassment. Harassment based upon an individual's race, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or any other legally protected characteristics will not be tolerated. All employees, including supervisors and other management personnel, are expected and required to abide by this policy. Retaliation No person will be adversely affected in employment with the organization as a result of bringing a good faith complaint of unlawful harassment or discrimination, or participating in good faith in an investigation under this policy. Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This behavior constitutes harassment when (1) submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment; (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions about employment, promotion, transfer, selection for training, performance evaluations, benefits, or other terms and conditions of employment; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment or substantially interferes with an employee's work performance. This definition includes many forms of offensive behavior and includes gender-based harassment of a person of the same sex as the harasser. The following is a partial list of violations: • Unwanted sexual advances • Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors • Threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances • Leering, making sexual gestures, or displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoon, or posters • Making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, or jokes • Inappropriate touching or assault Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  16. 16. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Sample Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy (continued) Reporting Procedure If an employee feels that he or she has been harassed on the basis of his or her race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or any other legally protected characteristic, the employee should immediately report the matter to his or her supervisor. Managers who receive a complaint of harassment or discrimination, or have reason to know that behavior which might constitute prohibited harassment or discrimination is occurring, must immediately report the matter to Human Resources and/or the EEO Office. If the employee’s supervisor is not available, or if the employee is uncomfortable speaking with his or her manager, the employee should immediately contact Human Resources and/or the EEO Office. Once the matter has been reported, it will be promptly investigated, and any necessary corrective action will be taken where appropriate. All complaints of unlawful harassment will be handled in as discreet and confidential a manner as is possible under the circumstances. The organization takes all allegations of harassment and discrimination seriously. Accordingly, if the organization finds an employee has knowingly and willingly filed a false claim of harassment or discrimination, the organization will take disciplinary action against the employee, up to and including termination. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  17. 17. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Federal Cases Supreme Court Establishes Affirmative Defense A lifeguard prevailed on her sexual harassment complaint against her employer even though she did not report the harassment. The lifeguard contended she was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment when her supervisors engaged in activities such as touching the lifeguard’s buttock, commenting on her shape, suggesting the lifeguard submit to a sexual relationship, and making other and numerous sexual comments. The Court recognized that an employer may avoid liability for sexual harassment that does not result in a tangible employment action if it can show that it exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct sexually harassing behavior and that the employee failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer. In this case, however, the Court found the employer had not exercised reasonable care to prevent the supervisor’s harassing conduct because it had not disseminated its sexual harassment policy to lifeguards, the policy did not provide a reporting mechanism to bypass the offending supervisors, and the employer failed to keep track of the conduct of its supervisors. Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 118 S.Ct. 2275 (1998). A female salesperson resigned and sued her employer for sexual harassment. The plaintiff alleged that on three occasions a supervisor threatened to make her life harder if she did not succumb to his sexual advances. The plaintiff refused the supervisor’s advances, but the supervisor did not follow through on his threats. Although the plaintiff was aware of the company’s policy against sexual harassment, she did not report the harassment until three weeks after she resigned. The Court found that an employer can be liable for a hostile work environment where a supervisor makes explicit threats to alter a subordinate’s terms or conditions of employment, but does not fulfill the threats. However, as in the Faragher case, the Court found that such an employer may avoid liability if it can show that it exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct sexually harassing behavior and that the employee failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer. The Court remanded the case to the trial court for a determination as to whether the employer could avoid liability by proving the affirmative defense. Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth, 118 S.Ct. 2257 (1998). Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  18. 18. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Federal Cases (continued) Sexual Harassment Case Results in Reasonable Woman Standard A woman who worked for the Internal Revenue Service alleged a co-worker sexually harassed her by repeatedly asking her out for lunch and writing her notes that she found shocking and frightening. In determining whether the co-worker’s conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the woman’s employment and create an abusive working environment, the Court determined that the co-worker’s conduct must be judged from the viewpoint of a reasonable third person who shares the same gender characteristic of the plaintiff – in this case, a reasonable woman. In establishing the “reasonable woman” standard, the Court recognized that there are differences between the sexes in how the co-worker’s conduct would be perceived. The Court found it most appropriate to view the conduct as would a reasonable person of the same gender of the plaintiff. Ellison v. Brady, 924 F.2d 872 (9th Cir. 1991). Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  19. 19. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Federal Cases (continued) Jury Finds for Plaintiff in Hostile Work Environment Case A female school bus driver was sexually harassed by her male supervisor over a period of six months. In one instance, the supervisor handed her his pubic hairs. As a result of the harassment, the plaintiff suffered psychological problems for the next year and a half. The plaintiff brought a hostile environment sexual harassment lawsuit against the school district and her supervisor. A jury found that the plaintiff had been subjected to a sexually hostile work environment. The jury awarded the plaintiff $400,000 in compensatory damages and $32,500 in punitive damages. An appeals court later upheld the award. Sornia v. El Centro Elementary School, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 8345 (9th Cir. 2008). Female Employee Wins Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit A female plaintiff was sexually harassed by her supervisor, an operations manager. The plaintiff alleges that at weekly work meetings the supervisor kissed her and asked her questions of a sexual nature. She also alleges that she was treated unfavorably after rejecting his advances. For example, she was denied days off, experienced delays in receiving her paycheck, and had her shift changed to a less desirable time. The plaintiff complained to her supervisor and an upper level manager. The upper level manager reportedly told her, “Do you want really to do this? Because you’re going to get [the supervisor] in trouble.” The plaintiff filed a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against her employer. The jury found for the plaintiff and awarded her $3 million, which the court reduced to $850,000 due to statutory caps on certain kinds of damages. Alvarado v. Fed. Express Corp., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21269 (N.D. Cal. 2008). Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  20. 20. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Federal Cases (continued) Employer Found Liable for Harassment and Retaliation A female bar manager at a hotel was sexually harassed by her direct supervisor, who was the hotel’s general manager, throughout her employment. The sexual harassment included comments by the general manager about his and the plaintiff’s bodies, details of his sexual escapades with other women, and descriptions of his pornography collection. The general manager also touched and grabbed the plaintiff’s hips, genital area, and breasts. He even sexually propositioned her during work hours. The plaintiff eventually complained of sexual harassment to the owner/operator of the hotel, who did not investigate the complaint and took no action to stop the harassment. Finally, the general manager terminated the plaintiff’s employment on Christmas Eve because she would not succumb to his propositions. The plaintiff sued the hotel for a variety of reasons, including sexual harassment and retaliation. The court found that the employer was liable and awarded the plaintiff around $268,000 in damages and attorney’s fees. Merrifield v. Miner’s Inn Rest. & Lounge, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68841 (E.D. Cal. 2006). Police Officer Awarded Over $1 Million After Complaints Ignored A police officer in Puerto Rico was awarded more than $1 million by a federal jury based on her claims that she was subjected to sexual harassment, retaliation, and violation of due process. The officer claimed that she was sexually harassed by a fellow officer. Although her initial report stopped the harassment briefly, subsequent reports resulted in continued inappropriate conduct and retaliation, including reassignment to less favorable posts and threats of being laid off. The jury award included compensatory damages under federal law of $250,000 and compensatory damages under state law of $250,000, plus damages against the individual alleged harasser of $80,000. Under state law, the compensatory damages were doubled to raise the total amount to just over $1 million. The officer was also reinstated to her former position. The jury award was affirmed on appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Valentin-Almeya v. Municipality of Aguadilla, 447 F.3d 85 (1st Cir. 2006). Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  21. 21. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Federal Cases (continued) Employer Retaliates Against Plaintiff for Participating in a Discrimination Claim A male police officer worked for the same department for over 30 years. At one point, he made a written complaint about numerous problems he perceived within the police department, including his allegation that coworkers were sexually harassing a female officer. Several years later, the female officer filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the police department. The plaintiff sent the female officer a copy of the written complaint he made about the harassment. The female officer then submitted the plaintiff’s complaint as evidence at a hearing held by the state commission investigating the lawsuit. Shortly after the hearing, the plaintiff was reassigned to a different position. The new position involved less compensation and no supervisory responsibility. The police department eventually placed the plaintiff on administrative leave. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit claiming that the police department retaliated against him because of his participation in an employment discrimination claim. The jury agreed and awarded him $300,000 for lost wages and emotional distress. McDonough v. City of Quincy, 452 F.3d 8 (1st Cir. 2006). Plaintiff Fired After Filing Sexual Harassment Claim Against Supervisor A female account manager at a consulting firm was repeatedly harassed by her male supervisor. For example, her supervisor invited her to his home and to join him on vacations. He also gave her jewelry, in violation of a company policy against such gifts. He spent excessive amounts of time in her office watching her work and once arranged an “urgent” early-morning meeting with her but then could not explain the reason for the meeting. The plaintiff complained to upper management about the harassment. The company launched an investigation, pursuant to which it contacted the supervisor. The supervisor then attempted to contact the plaintiff directly. The company eventually called a meeting between the plaintiff and her supervisor, as well as other employees, to discuss the plaintiff’s allegations. The plaintiff refused to attend a meeting with the supervisor, and the company terminated her employment for insubordination. The plaintiff brought a lawsuit against her employer claiming she was retaliated against because of her sexual harassment complaint. The jury found for the plaintiff on her retaliation claim and awarded her over $77,000. Pappas v. Watson Wyatt & Co., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21996 (D. Conn. 2008). Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  22. 22. MAINE MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Maine State Court Case Single Act of Harassment Enough for Hostile Work Environment Claim The Supreme Court of Maine upheld a judgment for a plaintiff who alleged a hostile work environment based upon a single act of harassment. The plaintiff worked as an administrative assistant in an office with only one supervisor. The plaintiff’s supervisor was aware that the plaintiff was experiencing financial difficulties as a result of a separation from her husband. The plaintiff claimed her supervisor offered her money in exchange for sex. She resigned from the company after this offer. The employer had no policy regarding sex harassment and no complaint procedure. The Court found these facts sufficient to support an award to the plaintiff of back pay, attorneys’ fees, and $1,000. Nadeau v. Rainbow Rugs, Inc., 675 A.2d 973 (ME 1996). Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA

×