The First “Me Too” Verdict in New York Should Send a Strong Message to Managers and Employers’s Summary: As I said in January, “Well 2018 is here and workplace harassment and retaliation allegations are still rolling in. It seems the talk is that everyone is still waiting for more workplace harassment and retaliation complaints to surface and surface they will. The tip of the iceberg is glaring and what’s underwater is yet to clearly surface and continue to raise more eyebrows with the shock of who it may be. Today, no one is shielded by the nature of their position, their status or current reputation, as has been seen of late.”
Although the case comes out of New York, the verdict will have a resounding effect. It appears that the jury didn’t find the individual respondent and university guilty of sexual harassment or gender discrimination (as alleged), but both were found to be guilty of retaliation and owed punitive damages totaling $1.25 million in damages.
The author notes that, “However, one key piece of evidence seemed to be a series of emails which Bekaert (Respondent) had written about the plaintiff, where he made very critical comments about Ravina (Plaintiff) and her work.”
The author suggests and provides examples for employers and HR Professionals to use in reviewing their current affected policies, procedures and practices. The message includes addressing inappropriate manager behavior earlier in the process, realization of how negative email and texts can be, empowering bystanders to speak up, consider using outside investigative experts to investigate allegations when necessary, making sure management understands liability for both the corporation and individual mangers, recognize the seriousness a retaliation claim may bring in potential liability and invest in live training for executives.
“None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.”

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