What Can Board Members and In-House Counsel Do to Prevent Harassment and Protect Their Company in the #MeToo Era

Overview


The increased focus on issues of harassment is putting corporate America under a microscope. Business executives and board members—regardless of whether the entity they serve is private, public or charitable—must adjust the way they approach the issue of harassment in the workplace and actively respond to allegations of misconduct. Recent examples demonstrate that no industry sector is immune to the problem. This is no longer just a matter for the HR department—it requires focus and corporate action at the General Counsel and Board levels. The tone must be set at the top. The adequacy of compliance programs and the corporate response to allegations of harassment both past and present has become critical in the marketplace as well as in the courts. Indeed, in addition to high profile examples of media reports alone destroying corporate reputations, a recent decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court (Gyulakian v. Lexus of Watertown, Inc. [2016]), has made it clear that a corporate failure to take sufficient remedial action (including a thorough investigation) after having been notified of potentially harassing conduct in the workplace can subject the company to punitive, as well as compensatory, damages.

The New England Legal Foundation in partnership with McDermott Will & Emery invite you to join our breakfast briefing as we explore trends in the way companies, and their Boards, are seeking to prevent and address allegations of workplace harassment in the ever-evolving #MeToo era. This briefing will provide practical and proactive steps that Boards of Directors and in-house counsel can take to protect their companies and create a supportive and inclusive environment for employees.

Please join Bob Cordy and our panelists, Sarah Walters, Kristin Michaels, Melissa Brennan and Krista Pratt, in a legal and practical discussion focusing on:

  • Institutional innovations
  • Investigations
  • Board issues
  • Liabilities

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