News & Commentary

November 22, 2017

Melissa Greenberg

Melissa Greenberg is a student at Harvard Law School.

Allegations of sexual harassment against high-profile men continued to mount yesterday with the announcement of accusations against news anchor Charlie Rose and Democratic Representative John Conyers.  As discussions turn to how to prevent sexual harassment in less high-profile industries, Time examines whether training is effective in reducing sexual harassment in the workplace.  While research on the impact of trainings has been mixed at best, in 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a report suggesting that in order to be successful training “must be part of a holistic culture of non-harassment that starts at the top” and should not be limited to education on legal liability.

On a related note, the New Yorker examines the use of nondisclosure agreements in sexual harassment cases focusing on agreements signed by women who claim to have been sexually harassed or assaulted by Harvey Weinstein.  The article notes that legislators have proposed measures to end the use of these types of contract provisions in New York, California, and at the federal level for congressional employees.  Samuel Estreicher, a professor of law at New York University, also suggested that the EEOC record the use of these types of settlements by a given employer and investigate those employers, which display a pattern of using these types of agreements.

Yesterday, the Trump Administration announced that it had decided to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for approximately 59,000 Haitian immigrants.  TPS prevents immigrants living in the United States from being deported to their country of origin if the country has been destabilized by violence or natural disaster.  The decision will take effect July 22, 2018 and comes on the heels of the end of TPS status for Nicaraguan immigrants.  The Trump Administration is also slated to reconsider TPS status for Salvadoran immigrants, the group with the largest number of recipients of TPS protections, next month.

Bloomberg reports that Apple Inc. discovered that student interns at FoxConn Technology Group have been working overtime at a FoxConn Factory in China.  The students were helping to manufacture the iPhone X.  The interns sometimes worked as much as 11 hours a day despite a Chinese law that makes it illegal for students to work more than 40 hours a week.  FoxConn maintains that all students were compensated appropriately.

Allegiant Airlines and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) have reached an agreement on a first contract.  However, the contract has yet to be ratified, and a tentative contract was voted down in 2016 by a vote of 600 to 185.  Union officials stated that the new contract is responsive to its members’ criticisms of the failed tentative contract and provides salary increases ranging from 16 percent to 33 percent and improved benefits for Allegiant flight attendants.  TWU has its sights set on organizing JetBlue’s flight attendants and is hoping that this favorable agreement will help persuade them to support the union.

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