April 15, 2015
AMB’s HR expert Kathy Eppright spoke in late April on the change in sexual harassment laws over the last 20 years. Eppright cautioned because of changes in the law, “no tolerance” harassment policies can create problems for employers. Such policies may in fact address issues such as personality conflicts, which are no longer defined as unlawful. Eppright said companies need to be informed on changes in the law and take care to balance the rights of the complaining employee with the rights of the accused employee. She noted the difficulty of managing change, citing a Harvard University example. In 2014, Harvard found itself the target of a Boston Globe op-ed piece submitted by a group of Harvard Law School professors protesting the university’s change in its anti-harassment policies. The authors complained the policy went too far in protecting the complaining party at the expense of the due-process rights of the accused.
Eppright also spoke on mediation guidelines for HR professionals. She was joined by prominent local mediator and Pepperdine instructor David Peterson. Eppright and Peterson reviewed the mediation process and discussed the ways principles of mediation can help HR professionals resolve problems and avoid employee legal claims.