Worldwide Employee Benefits Network - DOC by yzy10050

VIEWS: 16 PAGES: 4

Worldwide Employee Benefits Network document sample

More Info
									JANUARY 2003                                                                                           VOLUME 12, Issue 5

Affiliate of



                                      HReSource
                                                  A newsletter for the members and friends of the
                                   MetroWest Human Resource Management Association


     AN OVERVIEW OF AVOIDING WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIMS:
             STEPS FOR MINIMIZING LIABILITY FOR EMPLOYERS
                                                        by Maria C. Moynihan
Recent cases involving sexual harassment and discrimination claims remind employers that this aspect of the law continues to
evolve. This evolution has consequences for employers. The decisions issued by Courts and enforcing agencies adjudicating these
claims demonstrate the complexity of these cases.

                                                  Proactive Suggestions for Employers

In response to the increase of sexual harassment claims and corresponding responsibilities imposed by federal and state anti-
discrimination laws, employers must establish effective policies to guard against workplace sexual harassment and discrimination
claims. To be effective, policies should be in writing, define sexual harassment and include examples of inappropriate workplace
behavior. A comprehensive policy should include at least the following examples of inappropriate workplace behavior: (1)
unwelcome and sexual behavior between coworkers; (2) sending sexually inappropriate or offensive remarks through the
employer’s email, voicemail, computer or electronic systems; (3) conditioning an employee’s raise or any condition of employment
upon the employee’s submission to sexual favors; and (4) using sexually vulgar or explicit language in the workplace.

The policy should also confirm an employer’s commitment to a discrimination-free workplace, announce the consequences for
employees who fail to adhere to this commitment and provide the names of individuals within the organization to whom employees
can bring claims of sexual harassment, discrimination or questions. 1

Policies should be distributed to all new hires and redistributed annually. The policy should also be included in an employer’s
handbook and posted on the employer’s internal website.

                                           Internal Reporting Policies Should Provide
                                           Alternative Personnel to Report Complaints

Whenever possible, reporting procedures should provide for an alternative person to whom an employee may report an incident of
workplace sexual harassment. Likewise, whenever practicable, employees should have the option of reporting complaints to either a
male or a female employee.    (Continued on Page 2)



 1
   Several states including Massachusetts enacted laws that specifically direct covered employers to “…promote a workplace free from sexual
 harassment.” See Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151B §3A, R.I. Gen. Laws, §28-51-2 and Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 21 §495h. Consistent with their charge,
 these laws require employers to adopt written workplace sexual harassment policies. Although each statute contains its own requirements certain
 common themes exist, some of which are summarized below. Accordingly, all laws direct employers to publish a policy that informs employees
 that workplace sexual harassment is illegal, contains definitions and examples of sexual harassment and outlines the range of consequences for
 employees who fail to conduct themselves in accordance with the prescriptions of the policy. The preventive laws also require that employers
 distribute policies to all employees and new hires. Policies must also contain a description of the process for filing internal complaints.
 Employers in these states must also ensure that their policies comply with the mandates of applicable law.

     HReSource                                                                                                                        Page 1
 (Continued from Page 1)
                                                    Workplace Compliance Training

Proper training of employees is an essential step in minimizing liability. Employees should be educated on precisely what constitutes
acceptable and unacceptable workplace behavior, and of the potential consequences for failing to conduct themselves in accordance
with the established policy. Regular trainings are necessary to reinforce the employer’s commitment to provide employee training.
                                                               Conclusion

As the tenor of our workforces becomes more diverse, employers’ workplace policies must evolve to accommodate these changes.
Comprehensive discrimination policies and workplace trainings are important steps that employers can take to minimize the risk of
such claims.

Maria C. Moynihan, a Partner of Morgan, Brown & Joy, LLP, specializes in labor and employment law. Ms. Moynihan also
serves as a mediator and arbitrator in employment and commercial disputes and is a frequent author in employment law. She can
be reached at 617/523-6666 or mmoynihan@morganbrown.com.


 WELCOME NEW MEMBER
                                                         Bonnie Dufualt, DBM


                                                             HR HUMOR
 These lines found on the Internet are purportedly actual lines from Military Performance Appraisals:

          1.    Got into the gene pool while the lifeguard wasn't watching.
          2.    A room temperature IQ.
          3.    Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all together.
          4.    A gross ignoramus -- 144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus.
          5.    A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on.
          6.    Bright as Alaska in December.
          7.    Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming.
          8.    He's so dense, light bends around him.
          9.    If he were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered.


                           MetroWest HRMA                        2002 - 2003 SEMINAR SCHEDULE

      SEPTEMBER 17, 2002 ANNUAL MEETING and                              FEBRUARY 11, 2003      Annual Wage and Hour, FLSA and
                       Managing the Angry Employee                                             FMLA Review and Update

        OCTOBER 22, 2002   Second Annual Inside the                        MARCH 18, 2003      Performance Management, Effective
           MCAD: How it Works and How it Affects You                                                 Discipline, and Terminations

          NOVEMBER 19, 2002              Who are you hiring?                  APRIL 15, 2003   Workplace Discrimination Training

               DECEMBER 10, 2002         The Ups and Downs of                   MAY 20, 2003       Substance Abuse in the
                                       Unemployment Insurance                                                    Workplace

                JANUARY 21, 2003               HR Case Studies                     JUNE 17, 2003     Annual Employment
                                                   Program                                                    Law Update

                 For additional information, please visit the calendar section of our website at www.metrowesthrma.com



   HReSource                                                                                                                 Page 2
MEMBER RENEWAL
                                     Kathleen Mahoney, Middlesex Savings Bank


                                                 NEWS FROM SHRM
                                What Do Workers Value? Depends Who You Ask
What do workers say will make them happy? A survey by USATODAY.com and the Society for Human Resource Management
(SHRM) recently addressed this question and found the answer varies depending on whom you ask.

Employees say "job security" is very important to their satisfaction levels. The top three aspects that are "very important" to
worker satisfaction:

         * 1. Job Security (65%)
         * 2. Benefits (64%)
         * 3. Communication between employees and management (62%)

But what do HR professionals think workers need to be satisfied on the job? HR professionals ranked the following as "very
important" to workers' happiness:

         * 1. Communication between employees and management (77%)
         * 2. Recognition by management (62%)
         * 3. Relationship with immediate supervisor (61%)

Considering the differences in responses, the question raised is whether HR professionals are in tune with employees. The
survey indicates that HR professionals believe employees place a significant emphasis on workplace relationships. Employees,
however, are focused more toward the tangible items like benefits and job security, possibly due to the current economic
challenges.

Opinions also differed by employees' age and gender. Workers age 35 and younger rated communication and work/life balance
as equally important (66%), while older workers age 35 to 55 ranked job security first (71%). Women ranked flexibility to
balance life and work issues (72%) and communication (71%) as their top concerns, while men placed benefits (62%) and job
security (61%) as their highest priorities.

In terms of overall satisfaction with their current job, only 11 percent of employees responding said they were dissatisfied. The
majority, a total of 77 percent, said they are either satisfied or very satisfied with their current job.

"Given what employees say is important to them in terms of job satisfaction, most employers appear to be making the grade,"
according to SHRM Vice President of Knowledge Development, Debra Cohen, PhD, SPHR. "Remembering the turnover that
many companies experienced in the recent past when the labor market was very tight for skilled workers, it is interesting to note
that most employees currently report the extreme importance of job security and a high level of job satisfaction."

The study surveyed more than 1,000 workers and human resource professionals during September 2002. HR professionals were
randomly selected from SHRM's member database and worker opinions were solicited via a survey placed on
USATODAY.com.



 SPONSORED BY: Clark University Graduate Management Center, 1671 Worcester
 Rd.
 Framingham, MA 01701. NOW offering a Graduate Human Resource Certificate for Today’s HR
 Professional. For more information please contact Marty Breinlinger at 508-793-7212 or visit our
 website at www.copace.clarku.edu.


HReSource                                                                                                                   Page 3
                            HR ALLIANCE SCHEDULE Through March 2003
  Meeting Date                               Topic                                    Speaker                   Alliance Organization &
                                                                                                                        Website

January 29               Customer Service Skills for                       Martha Stephens,                  Employment Management
                         Employment and HR Professionals                   Greenleaf Consulting              Association
                                                                           Group                             www.emanewengland.org

February 12              Training Activities                               Bonnie Petrovich                  Central Mass ASTD
                                                                           (Facilitator)                     www.cmastd.org

February 13              When the Pink Slip is Yours                       Rick Dacri, Dacri &               Central Mass HRMA
                                                                           Associates                        www.hrmacentralmass.org

February 19              Fiduciary/Investment Liability; 404(c)            Mary Rosen, Associate             Worldwide Employee Benefits
                                                                           Regional Director, U.S.           Network
                                                                           D.O.L.                            www.webnetwork.org

March 19                 Health Care Cost Containment                      Liz Dudek, The Segal              Worldwide Employee Benefits
                                                                           Company                           Network
                                                                                                             www.webnetwork.org

March 20                 Mock Trial                                        TBA                               Central Mass HRMA
                                                                                                             www.hrmacentralmass.org




                             MWHRMA BOARD MEMBERS & VOLUNTEERS
 Mark Vital, SPHR, CT, Chair of the Board                                        Cheryl Cushman, President

 Rana Hosseini, Vice President & Benefits Coordinator                            Maura Grossman, Secretary
 Apex Benefits Consultants, Inc.                                                 Grafton Suburban Credit Union

 Kathleen Mahoney, Treasurer                                                     Mary Hassan, Diversity Coordinator
 Middlesex Savings Bank                                                          First Act, Inc.

 Mike Sabin, Administrator                                                       Dianne Davidson, Editor
 Bay State Advisors, Inc.                                                        Human Resource Partners, Inc.

 Charlie Anderson, Ed.D., SPHR, Membership Chair                                 Mark Whitney, Esq., Program Chair
 Diligent Technologies                                                           Morgan, Brown & Joy, LLP

 Debbie Bercume, SHRM Coordinator                                                Bob Murphy, Past Chair (Ex-officio)
 CMEA The Employers Association                                                  Human Resource Partners, Inc.


  HReSource is published 10 times a year by the MetroWest HRMA, 12 West Central Street, Natick, MA 01760. Dianne Davidson, Editor, 508-655-0808.




HReSource                                                                                                                                Page 4

								
To top