EEOC Study of Workplace Harassment Urges Employers to Do More Prevention

EEOC sealRecently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued the results of a study of workplace harassment.  The agency convened a task force to conduct this study in January 2015.  The task force issued a report in June 2016. Task Force Report.  It concluded that since the Supreme Court recognized that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment as a form of employment discrimination 30 years ago, “we have come a far way since that day, but sadly and too often still have far to go.”   The report addresses not only sexual harassment, but also workplace harassment claims based on any one or more of race, disability, color, age, national origin, ethnicity, or religion.

Workplace Harassment Poses a Very Real and Costly Business Risk

The task force’s study examined the current scope of unlawful harassment in American workforces.  It noted that about one-third of the nearly 90,000 discrimination charges filed with the EEOC in fiscal year 2015 included workplace harassment allegations.  Those filing harassment charges represent the tip of the iceberg, because “[r]oughly three of four  individuals who experienced harassment never even talked to a supervisor, manager, or union representative about the harassing conduct.”  The report identifies the following reasons for the underreporting of unlawful harassment claims:  fear of disbelief of claims, fear of inaction on complaints, blame, ostracism, or retaliation.  Workers, instead, develop their own work-arounds, such  as avoiding the harasser, denying or downplaying the seriousness of the situation, ignoring, forgetting, or enduring the behavior.  It finds the filing of a discrimination charge or pursuit of formal action through an employer’s complaint procedure to be “the least common response to harassment.” (more…)

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Resource of the Week: LawHelp Interactive

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Looking for free legal forms? Like the idea of automated forms where you answer questions and the document is customized for you? That’s the service LawHelp Interactive provides.

Here’s how the service describes itself:

LawHelp Interactive helps you fill out legal forms. Answer a series of questions and print your legal form.

The forms are free and have been created by nonprofit legal aid programs and courts. They are for use by legal aid advocates, pro bono lawyers, and people representing themselves.

LawHelp Interactive is a project of Pro Bono Net, a nonprofit that increases access to justice through technology.

It sounds like a great project. Have you used the service? What do you think?

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Resource of the Week: commonterms.net

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Virtually no one reads website terms of service, but we often have to click “I agree” in order to use a website. And courts generally enforce online terms even when website users don’t read them. I think this is a problem, and I’ve written about it in the past.

In my last two Resource of the Week posts, I highlight projects that are trying to help consumers with this issue by providing an easily accessible cheat sheet of what’s in a website’s terms of service, so we don’t have to spend our nights and weekends slogging through the legalese just to download an app from the app store.

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Resource of the Week: TOS;DR (Terms of Service; Didn’t Read)

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In last week’s Resource of the Week post, I highlighted TOSSOS (Terms of Service SOS), a website that provides a summary of the website terms of many popular websites. As we all know, nobody reads online terms of service, but having a cheat sheet can at least clue us into some of important things that we’re agreeing to.

This week’s resource is trying to tackle the same problem. As TOS;DR states on its home page, “‘I have read and agree to the Terms’ is the biggest lie on the web. We aim to fix that.” The site’s approach is similar to that of TOSSOS — summarize and label TOS highlights so people know what they’re getting into, even if they don’t have time to slog through the actual terms.

If you’ve used TOS;DR, let me know what you think in the comments, shoot me an email, or ping me on Twitter @theBlog4BizLaw.

[Update 8/19/2012: After posting this piece, I read this Techcrunch article from last Monday that provides more background about the TOS;DR project.]

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Resource of the Week: TOSSOS

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Do you read the terms of service for all the websites you use, or do you simply click “I agree” and go on with your business? As I discuss in this post about online terms of service, although you probably don’t read online terms, they’re usually enforced by courts. But who has time to read online terms closely enough to know what you’re agreeing to? (more…)

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Business Law Resource of the Week: Websites to Help You Hire Your Next Employee

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Intuit — the makers of Quicken, Quick Books, and Turbo Tax — have an excellent business blog, the Intuit Small Business Blog. I subscribed to the blog’s email list for a while and found myself clicking on posts often. I recently threw out a lot of my email subscriptions in order to unclutter my inbox, so now the blog’s content comes to me via RSS and Google Reader.

One of the posts that caught my eye recently was 10 Useful Websites for Hiring Your Next Employee. LinkedIn, Monster, and Career Builder made the list, of course. But I’d never heard of Indeed, Simply Hired, or some of the others. Check out the post and see what you think.

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Business Law Resource of the Week: Nolo.com

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An awful lot of legal work is done by do-it-yourselfers. From entrepreneurs and hobby business persons who don’t employ attorneys at all to large corporations that decide to forgo lawyer input on routine matters, transactions and other matters are handled by the business person alone without the benefit of input from legal professionals. Like the tightrope walker braving the line without a net, the height of the wire determines how high the stakes are.

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Business Law Resource of the Week: Irfanview

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Nearly all businesses these days have a website, and many companies also have a blog. Blogs are a good way to drive traffic to a company website both because they’re a great source of information for the public — including a business’s prospects — and because search engines favor websites that are frequently updated.

Pictures and other images are a great way to make blogs more visually attractive and appealing. But pictures generally don’t come ready-made in the best format and size for posting in a blog. Thus, it’s important to have a tool that allows you to quickly and easily format and resize images. For me, Irfanview is the perfect tool. (more…)

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Business Law Resource of the Week: Missouri Business Entity Search

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Ever need to know something about a Missouri business entity, such as the company’s legal name, its registered agent, or who is on its board of directors? The business entity search page on the Missouri Secretary of State’s website provides that information and more for all companies that are registered with the Secretary of State’s office, including corporations and limited liability companies.

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Business Law Resource of the Week: The Complete Startup Reading List

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Need some recommendations for outstanding business books? I’d recommend bookmarking The Complete Startup Reading List, which was published this morning by Becky Celestine on the Online MDA’s blog.

I haven’t read all the books on Becky’s list, but I was pleased to find some of my favorites, including Blue Ocean Strategy and The Tipping Point, as well as books that are on my to-do list, such as The Thank You Economy, Built to Last, and The Innovator’s Dilemma.

What do you think about the list? Which books would you add?

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