Thursday, October 18, 2018

Has #MeToo had an impact?

We have some early indicators that the #MeToo movement has had an impact - not just culturally, but in the actual field of employment law. 

Here in the Third Circuit, the Court of Appeals specifically recognized the #MeToo movement while issuing a very employee-friendly take on the Faragher-Ellerth defense (effectively making it easier for plaintiffs to prevail).

Two weeks ago, the EEOC released its preliminary data on sexual harassment claims, and guess what? They saw a 12% increase in sexual harassment charges filed by employees, and the EEOC itself filed 50% more sexual harassment lawsuits. 

We should also keep an eye out for the EEOC's long-awaited harassment guidance

So, we have: 
  • more people coming forward to file claims; 
  • more enforcement actions from the EEOC; 
  • courts taking notice and issuing opinions that (arguably) make it easier for harassment plaintiffs to win in court; and
  • employers will get some guidance on how to address harassment (hopefully) soon. 
While we've seen lots of action, what we're still waiting for is results. Will these steps have the intended effect?