An article by Florham Park counsel Bill Horwitz titled, “Second Circuit Adopts New Standard Involving Harassment by Non-Employees,” was published in the New York Law Journal.
Bill discussed the case of Summa v. Hofstra University, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit addressed the question of whether an employer is liable when non-employees harass its personnel and adopted a standard for answering it.
The case involved claims of sexual harassment and retaliation by a former part-time manager of Hofstra University’s football team, a graduate student named Lauren Summa. Bill says the decision, however, has implications “beyond the world of college sports and applies to harassing conduct by vendors, customers and other third parties.”
The Second Circuit held that Summa could not pursue her sexual harassment claims against the university because it promptly responded to her complaints about football players’ conduct and took appropriate remedial action. The court, however, allowed her retaliation claim to continue because Summa provided sufficient proof that her complaints about the football team influenced the university’s decision to ultimately terminate her employment.
Bill says the decision “serves as a reminder to employers that: (1) ensuring that employees do not engage in inappropriate conduct will not necessarily shield an employer from civil liability for harassment; and (2) preventing retaliation against an employee who complains about harassment may be as important as preventing harassment in the first place.”
William Horwtiz, counsel in the Labor & Employment practice group, recently authored articles for both the New Jersey Law Journal and BNA’s Corporate Counsel Weekly.
William’s article for the New Jersey Law Journal titled, “Third Circuit Rides the Class-Action Arbitration Waive”, discusses the case of Quilloin v. Tenet HealthSystem Philadelphia, in which the Third Circuit, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s lead and its own precedent, endorsed the validity of class-action waivers in predispute employment arbitration agreements. Bill outlines the facts of the case and the court’s reasoning and says that the case offers helpful guidance for employers rolling out new arbitration agreements and employers with existing agreements. He also notes that Quilloin holds that class-action waivers are enforceable and employers should consider including them in arbitration agreements, adding that employers should also “include a provision requiring the parties to submit arbitrability issues to the arbitrator.”
William’s article for BNA’s Corporate Counsel Weekly, “In Case Involving Employer’s Poor Handling of Sexual Harassment Allegation, Second Circuit Resolves Two Novel Issues”, William discusses the case of Townsend v. Benjamin Enterprises, Inc., in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit resolved two issues of first impression. In outlining the facts of the case and the court’s observations, William notes that the most important takeaway from the decision may be the important guidance for employers of how not to address sexual harassment in the workplace.
To read the complete article, “Third Circuit Rides the Class-Action Arbitration Waive”, click here.
To read the complete article, “In Case Involving Employer’s Poor Handling of Sexual Harassment Allegation, Second Circuit Resolves Two Novel Issues”, click here.