Compensation and Benefits: The Front Line in the War Against Sexual Harassment

Our article, "Hitting Workplace Harassers Where It Hurts" (National Law Journal, 12/30/2017*), began by recognizing that a 2016 EEOC study carried the following warning about sexual harassment in the workplace: "Much of the training done over the last 30 years has not worked as a prevention tool." We concluded with this suggestion: "Imagine a training session that starts by highlighting the financial devastation that could result from a termination for cause."

Employers have the power to "up the ante" for workplace misbehavior, by expanding not only what compensation is at risk for bad-acting employees, but also by imposing look-back periods that may vary depending on the nature of the bad act. For employers who agree that bad acts should have bad consequences, 2018 will be a good year in which to revisit what is placed at risk, and how that risk will materialize. With the door open for toughening-up workplace policies, employers should also review:

(1) their benefit plan and award provisions that encourage efficient claim resolution; and

(2) their enforcement mechanisms for loyalty covenants (i.e., agreements that protect against trade -secret disclosures and post-employment violations of non-competition, and non-solicitation covenants).

For further information, please contact David Gabor or Mark Poerio. They are ready to answer questions, lead executive briefings, and provide workforce training focused on substantive and procedural strategies that discourage workplace harassment and other misconduct.

*Mark Poerio, who recently joined The Wagner Law Group, was the primary author of this article, with Steve Harris.