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News and Announcements

News and Announcements

Microsoft Moves to End Secrecy in Sexual Harassment Claims

Dec 19, 2017 / Media Coverage
The wave of sexual harassment claims has toppled powerful men in entertainment, media and politics. Now, it is also creating permanent changes in workplace policy at one giant technology company. Microsoft, one of the world’s biggest software makers, said on Tuesday that it had eliminated forced arbitration agreements with employees who make sexual harassment claims and was also supporting a proposed federal law that would widely ban such agreements. The moves make Microsoft an early company — and certainly the most prominent — to take such steps to end legal agreements that have been...
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He Made Us All Victims and Accomplices

Dec 14, 2017 / Media Coverage
For 20 years, I’ve felt it was too early to speak up about Judge Alex Kozinski. Now I fear it’s too late. The first time I met Alex Kozinski was in 1996. I was clerking for the chief judge of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and there was an orientation for new clerks in San Francisco. One of my co-clerks and I were introduced to the already legendary, lifetime-tenured young judge at a reception, and we talked for a while. I cannot recall what we talked about. I remember only feeling quite small and very dirty. Without my prompting, my former co-clerk described this interaction in an...
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Silicon Valley’s Wild West Culture Makes It Harder To Root Out Sexual Misconduct

Dec 7, 2017 / Media Coverage
Women in tech tell BuzzFeed News that startups’ deprioritization of human resources leaves employees vulnerable. Dozens of tech industry workers responding to a recent BuzzFeed News survey on sexism and harassment said their employers failed to help them resolve the issue. Many of these respondents said sexual harassment went unaddressed because there was no human resources department or higher authority to report it to. Others didn’t report harassment because they feared retribution, or simply because they thought it would do no good. And most of those who did report harassment said they...
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Memo To Drunk, Handsy Coworkers At the Office Holiday Party: You're Still Legally Accountable For Your Actions

Dec 4, 2017 / Media Coverage
With the recent barrage of sexual harassment allegations flooding the news, many companies are re-evaluating whether alcohol-fueled work celebrations are a good idea. In fact, the 2017 Holiday Party Survey Report found that fewer companies will be serving alcohol at their holiday parties this year: just 47.8%, down from nearly 62% last year. Some are calling this the "Weinstein effect." However, focusing on alcohol misses the problem, according to Nina Frank , who handles employee-based harassment cases at the New York law firm Outten and Golden. “I don't think I can say this often enough:...
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Boss Grab Your Breasts? That’s Not (Legally) Harassment

Nov 30, 2017 / Media Coverage
In a case that went to federal court in the early 1990s, a woman presented evidence that her supervisor tried to kiss her on multiple occasions, placed “I love you” signs on her desk, called her a dumb blonde, put his hands on her shoulders and asked her out on dates. The trial court judge dismissed her suit, declaring that this conduct did not meet the threshold for sexual harassment, and the appeals court affirmed the dismissal. Since then, courts have cited this case and others like it hundreds of times in rejecting sexual harassment claims. Such conduct, these courts have declared, is not...
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Harassment cases start hitting New York companies

Nov 20, 2017 / Media Coverage
After a well-known chef tried but failed to drag Rachel Waynberg, then a 27-year-old restaurant marketer, into the bathroom at a party, he still bragged to everyone around that he'd had sex with her. Last year, as Iman Oubou, the founder of Swaay, a new-media company for women entrepreneurs, wrapped up her first-ever investment meeting, the potential backer suggested they could "seal the deal" in his hotel room. When Amy Rose Spiegel, the editor-in-chief at Brooklyn-based Talkhouse Media, was 19 and interning at Death & Taxes seven years ago, co-founder Stephen Rockwell harassed her and...
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If Hollywood stars really want to fight harassment, here’s how they can start

Nov 15, 2017 / Media Coverage
The sexual harassment and sexual-assault stories currently roiling the entertainment industry have stars and fans in a fighting mood. So it was no surprise when Gal Gadot’s contract negotiations made headlines. Gadot, whose Wonder Woman is the lone real breakout superhero of the DC movie franchise, reportedly declared that she wouldn’t sign for future installments unless the movies were no longer financed by RatPac-Dune Entertainment. RatPac is co-founded by director and producer Brett Ratner, who has been accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault by a number of women. Ratner’s...
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The Workplace After Harvey Weinstein: Harassment Scandals Prompt Rapid Changes

Nov 10, 2017 / Media Coverage
Top brass at advertising giant Interpublic Group of Co s. told its 20,000 U.S. employees last week they had until year’s end to complete sexual-harassment training. The session quizzes employees on what to do when a co-worker discusses weekend sexual exploits at work or comes on to a colleague’s girlfriend after hours. IPG doesn’t have a harassment scandal. Chief Executive Michael Roth told his board he fast-tracked announcing the mandatory training, a board member says, in response to high-profile harassment allegations in Hollywood and media. “Women are crucial to our business and our...
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How Anita Hill forever changed the way we talk about sexual harassment

Nov 9, 2017 / Media Coverage
Before Harvey Weinstein, before Roger Ailes, before #metoo -- there was Anita Hill. In October 1991, Hill testified about sexual harassment she allegedly endured from Clarence Thomas, her former boss at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and then a Supreme Court nominee. Before an all-male Senate Judiciary Committee, she recounted the allegations, sparking a national conversation about sexual harassment: what it is, how it's defined and whom it affects. Thomas was eventually confirmed to the Supreme Court. But after Hill stepped into the spotlight in 1991, her experience forever...
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