News & Publications

Susan Gross Sholinsky Quoted in “In a Move to Empower Victims of Sexual Harassment, Vermont Law Takes Aim at Common Legal Practice”

PBS NewsHour

Susan Gross Sholinsky, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted on the PBS NewsHour website, in “In a Move to Empower Victims of Sexual Harassment, Vermont Law Takes Aim at Common Legal Practice,” by Molly Enking.

Following is an excerpt:

A new law that went into effect in Vermont this month sheds light on a little-known legal practice in private sexual harassment settlements that some say punishes the victim.

Known as a “do not darken my door” or a “no rehire” clause, it bars employees who settle discrimination cases from ever working for their employer again—and this month, Vermont became the first state to ban it.

Vermont is the latest of many states to pass new sexual harassment laws since the #MeToo movement gained national recognition last fall, but its bill is the first to address this specific legal provision. Lawyers told the NewsHour Weekend that this is considered a widespread practice, but it’s hard to know exactly how widespread, because most sexual harassment cases are settled privately and bound by non-disclosure agreements.

Critics say this kind of clause hurts the victim and disincentivizes people from coming forward when they experience harassment or discrimination. …

The practice has been a “boilerplate” part of separation agreements between employees and employers for years, said Susan Gross Sholinsky, an employment and labor lawyer at Epstein Becker & Green in New York City. She said the clause is meant to protect the company from being sued again in the future.

“No-rehire clause or not, I don’t know a company that would go out and rehire an employee that they just settled a case with—it doesn’t make sense for them,” Sholinsky said.