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Vedder Thinking | News Amy Bess Comments on Responsibilities of HR Departments Amidst Recent Sexual Harassment Allegations in Washington Post

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Labor and Employment Shareholder Amy L. Bess was recently quoted in a Washington Post article on the growing sense of unease that many human resources managers are feeling as high profile sexual harassment allegations and reports of workplace misconduct occur in the news daily.

Ms. Bess represents employers before state and federal courts, defending against race, sex, disability and age discrimination; sexual harassment; whistleblower retaliation; restrictive-covenant disputes; wrongful termination; and wage and hour violations. She regularly counsels clients in all of these areas, drafts and negotiates employment and severance agreements, conducts on-site workplace investigations, presents training seminars and speaks to employer groups on avoiding workplace problems.

In the article, Ms. Bess discusses the duties and risks that HR professionals are increasingly facing amid a changing social media, technology and cultural landscape with a new set of unwritten rules.

Ms. Bess noted that employers are asking their attorneys and advisors to “re-evaluate their entire process, to look at their policy, to do some training.” She adds that one of their big concerns is how to respond to very public allegations in the age of social media, since “waiting around for a week or two to do a thorough investigation is probably not going to satisfy constituents” anymore. Ms. Bess has also faced questions about how to deal with posts on employees’ personal Facebook or Twitter pages that may allege workplace harassment. She says, to avoid risk, employers should respond the same way they would when they hear rumors or gossip about harassment: if it implicates conduct in the workplace, look into it.

To read the article in full, please click here.


Amy L. Bess