Jeffrey H. Ruzal, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in PCA Plus, in “HR in 2019 and Beyond,” by Jackie Carpenter.
Following is an excerpt:
The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have dramatically impacted the law. In 2018, twenty-nine states and the U.S. Congress introduced new sexual harassment bills. In a recent webinar for club executives, Jeffrey Ruzal, partner with a national labor and employment law firm Epstein Becker Green, said these unprecedented changes will have a significant impact on private clubs. Most of the law changes focus on the following areas:
1) Law and legislative proposals prohibiting mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment disputes and waivers of employees’ rights and remedies. “This means issues will be litigated in a public forum with less discretion,” Ruzal said.
2) Law and legislative proposals banning nondisclosure agreements (NDA’s) in sexual harassment settlements and in other contexts. “These changes demonstrate a move toward full transparency where legal disputes and settlements in this area of the law will not be able to be swept under the rug,” he explained.
3) Requiring employers to adopt detailed sexual harassment policies and/or comprehensive training programs. “The law is really addressing the requirements for training about anti-sexual harassment cultures,” Ruzal said. “Failure to properly educate the work force, supervisors and management can fall back on the employer.”
“Try to maintain a more rigid policy and create an environment of anti-sexual harassment training. Prevention is always a best practice whether or not you are required by law to do so,” Ruzal advised. “Make sure there are relatively frequent reviews or training with management and employees to understand how sexual harassment can occur, what to look for and how to deal with it if it arises in the workplace.”