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Unions Are Not Immune from the #MeToo Scandal

Ever since the Harvey Weinstein allegations broke, almost every industry has been plagued by revelations of sexual harassment and abuse.  This has left employers reeling. Even Unions are included in this scandal. 

The Service Employees International Union (“SEIU”), one of the largest unions in the country, learned this lesson late last year.  Executive Vice President Scott Courtney, the mastermind behind the Fight for $15 campaign calling for dramatic increases to minimum wage, was suspended and ultimately resigned amidst allegations he had sexual relationships with subordinates who were subsequently promoted.  This would be the classic quid pro quo sexual harassment scenario – providing improved working conditions in exchange for sexual favors.  Additionally, Kendell Fells, an organizing director for Fight for $15 also resigned amid sexual harassment allegations. 

The Fight for $15 began back in 2012 when hundreds of fast food workers walked off the job demanding $15 an hour and a union in New York City.  Since then, the movement has swept across the country. 

Hollywood, restaurants, politics, and may other industries have all had revelations of unreported sexual harassment during the rise of the #MeToo movement.  This is only the beginning.  Now is the time for employers to review their anti-harassment policies, train managers and employees, and ensure the company is creating and fostering a culture which does not condone sexual harassment and abuse. 

Brody and Associates regularly provides training and counseling on maintaining a harassment free environment and on employment law issues in general. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.454.0560.