Posts Tagged ‘vicarious liability’
Monday, July 14th, 2014
The Healthy Workplace Campaign is WBI’s effort to enact anti-bullying legislation for the American workplace state by state. The model bill is called the Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB).
Features of the HWB
• Suffolk University Law Professor David C. Yamada, text author, used federal Title VII Civil Rights laws as basis
• Defines severe abusive conduct — does not use term workplace bullying
• Provides legal redress for anyone subjected to abusive conduct, whether or not the person is a member of a protected status group
• Requires that abusive conduct result in either demonstrable health or economic harm to plaintiff
• Plaintiffs who file lawsuits make public formerly hidden, confidential employer processes that hide and deny bullying
• Prohibits retaliation against any participant in procedures involved in dealing with the abusive conduct complaint
• Requires plaintiffs to hire private attorneys, no fiscal impact on state government
• Provides incentives (affirmative defenses) for employers who implement genuine corrective procedures
• Preserves managerial prerogative to discipline and terminate employees
• Does not interfere with state workers’ compensation laws or union CBAs
We named the HWB in 2002. All other uses of the name HWB are unauthorized by us. California first introduced the HWB in 2003. It has been carried in over half of states and two territories since. The Workplace Bullying Institute trains and provides support to a national network of volunteer Sate Coordinators who lobby their respective state legislators to sponsor the HWB. You can track its status at the HWB website.
Botched Amendments & Unanticipated Consequences
As authors of the HWB, we naturally want the full and original version of the bill enacted into law. And we realize compromises will be made during the process. It is “sausage making,” after all. We just wish all bill sponsors would refuse to allow major revisions that change the spirit of the bill from protecting abused workers to something else. Since the HWB was first introduced, different amendments have been proposed or made.
Often the well-intended sponsor, a pro-worker advocate, agrees to compromise adopting the belief that the law can be built in steps. Let’s get this version passed now and it will be revisited in the coming years and supplemented with the other desired provisions.
Tags: amendments, business lobby, Chamber of Commerce, David Yamada, Gary Namie, Healthy Workplace Bill, Unions, vicarious liability, workplace bullying, Workplace Bullying Institute
Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Tutorials About Bullying, Unions, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is done for the year. Decisions have been rendered. The court gutted the civil rights movement by neutering the Voting Rights Act (Shame on them!) . The court granted LGBT proponents unprecedented rights (Yea!). Two decisions regarding employment law clearly sided with employers and once again stuck it to working men and women.
Case #1: Retaliation Changed to Suit Employer Defendants
In the Univ of Texas v. Nassar (No 12-484), SCOTUS (in a 5-4 vote on June 24, 2013) limits retaliation claims to situations in which the plaintiff can show that the the only employer motivating factor is the desire to retaliate. Justice Kennedy opined that there are two standards — lessened causation and but-for. In cases where the practice of retaliation was motivated by several factors, one of which was race, color, religion, sex or national origin, lessened causation applies. In reality, many factors do apply. The Court called these “mixed-motive” cases.
In this case, a woman supervisor at the University of Texas Medical School, Beth Levine, MD (pictured on the left), harassed Naiel Nassar, MD, a physician of Middle Eastern descent. Nassar was working at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas and was an Associate Professor at the UT Southwestern Medical Center. In 2004, he inherited a new department head, Levine, known to comment “MiddleEasterners are lazy.” He was promised a post at the hospital even after he resigned his academic job. Nassar’s resignation letter cited Levine’s harassment as the reason. A Dr. Fitz who received the Nassar resignation letter felt he had to defend and exonerate his colleague Levine. Fitz convinced the hospital to withdraw its job offer to Nassar. Nassar filed two claims — discrimination by Levine and retaliation by the University that cost him his hospital position.
The five conservative justices actually stated that the lessening causation standard “could contribute to the filing of frivolous claims.” The opinion cites EEOC statistics about the “nearly doubled” frequency of retaliation claims in the past 15 years. They equate retaliation claims with baseless claims. They seem motivated, on behalf of corporations against which these retaliation claims are filed, to reduce those numbers that bother corporate defendants.
Tags: antidiscrimination laws, Ball State, discrimination, dissenting opinion, employer responsibility, Justice Kennedy, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Nassar, retaliation, supervisor defined, Title VII, University of Texas, US Supreme Court, Vance, vicarious liability
Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Rulings by Courts, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Sunday, December 2nd, 2012
As bullied targets learn quickly, civil rights laws rarely apply in bullying situations. The magic combination of a target being a member of a protected class and the bully not being a member happens in only 1 in 5 cases. With all other combinations the target must overcome legal obstacles too great for most attorneys to tackle.
On Nov. 26, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments in the case brought by a black woman Maetta Vance against Ball State University. The case is not about whether or not she suffered racial discrimination at the hands of Saundra Davis, a white woman, but whether Davis was her supervisor.
The University is not liable for Davis’ conduct if the court deems Davis a coworker. Vance contends that Davis acted as her supervisor. That’s the crux of the case. The final decision affects the liability of employers in harassment cases and could make it even tougher to sue employers for one of their employee’s wrongdoing.
Tags: Ball State University, employer liability, harassment, Maetta Vance, status-protected group, supervisor definition, vicarious liability
Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Rulings by Courts, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying Laws | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment (