Well, the sun came up again today and, naturally, we woke up to more headlines involving sexual harassment in the workplace. This time, three on-air commentators from the NFL Network have been suspended due to allegations of sexual harassment by a former co-worker, Jami Cantor. In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, the former wardrobe stylist at the NFL Network alleged that she was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment. Among others mentioned in her complaint, former NFL players, Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor, and Heath Evans were alleged to have subjected Cantor to unwelcome and offensive conduct of a sexual nature. Specifically, according to the complaint, Cantor alleged that Faulk groped her breasts, that Taylor sent her a video of himself masturbating in the shower, and that Evans lewdly propositioned her on multiple occasions. Not surprisingly, agents for the three former players did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Faulk, Taylor, and Evans join an increasingly long list of high profile employees who have been suspended or terminated by their employers over the past three months since the explosion of sexual harassment claims following the Harvey Weinstein scandal. All employers should take notice. The affirmative legal defenses available to employers with respect to sexual and other harassment claims require that the employer establish that it took reasonable steps to prevent harassment from occurring. According to the EEOC, the most crucial of these steps is employee education and training. Employers that fail to train their employees with respect to harassment in the workplace will be unable to invoke the protections of these defenses and may even be strictly liable for harassment that has occurred. In this regard, it is critical to note that the EEOC’s Harassment Guidance requires the training to be in-person, interactive and tailored to the employee’s position with the employer (supervisors or non-supervisors).
At the rate we are going, Santa is going to have a much shorter work night this Christmas Eve. Also, if anyone at the NFL Network is reading this blog entry, we offer affordable, interactive training that satisfies the requirements of the EEOC’s recent Harassment guidance. Our training is designed to engage trainees in the process, and is customized for both supervisory and non-supervisory employees.
For more information regarding the harassment training for employees, please contact us at email@example.com.