Weekend News & Commentary — April 22-23, 2017

Companies seeking to reduce potential liability for sexual harassment—or even intending to suppress such allegations—often set up anonymous hotlines but then fail to properly inform employees of their existence or utilize the information received through them, the New York Times finds in its follow-up investigation to the firing earlier this week of Bill O’Reilly as a host at Fox News.  The Times interviewed employment lawyers and victims of harassment at the television station, who described numerous failings in the hotline system set up by Fox that had previously been touted as evidence that the accusations were specious.

Politico covers the political ramifications of President Trump’s recent moves on the Export-Import Bank, which provides financing to American manufacturers to support deals that cannot secure private lending.  Though previously critical of the bank, last week the President said he thought it was “a very good thing” and nominated a conservative critic of the agency to lead it.  Democrats, who generally support the bank, are now in the difficult position of determining whether to acquiesce in the confirmation of former Representative Scott Garrett, who in addition to criticizing the agency has made homophobic comments.  Republicans seem to be rallying behind Garrett, despite the party’s previous opposition to the Export-Import Bank as a concept.

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts legislature held hearings on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.1038/S.1023), a bill that would require reasonable accommodations be made by employers when they would not result in undue hardship, and that would protect workers from various forms of employer reprisals for requesting accommodations.  The Worcester Telegram provides coverage of the hearings, relaying some of the testimony of women who were denied accommodations by their employers.