Employers can use an arbitration clause to compel arbitration of almost all employment-related problems, including supervisor sexual harassment. That can limit the chance of a huge jury award.
Recent case: Sophia Sewell signed an arbitration agreement with her employer that required arbitration of all claims involving employment.
Later, she sued, alleging that her supervisor had sexually harassed her until she felt forced to quit. The alleged sexual harassment took place at training seminars and other company-sponsored events.
The company asked the court to dismiss the case and send it to arbitration. That’s what the court did, since the arbitration agreement was broad enough to cover all employment-related claims, including sexual harassment if they were alleged to occur while on company business. (IFMG Securities, et al., v. Sewell, No. 13-10-00235, Court of Appeals of Texas, 2011)
- Investigation points back to employee who complained? It's OK to punish her, too
- Employee doesn't need to exhaust complaint channels to file suit
- When contesting timeliness of lawsuit filing, remember to factor in weekends, holidays
- Train managers how to spot bias and take complaints
- Any stereotypes of workers--even positive ones--can spark discrimination lawsuits