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Summer Networking Events: Workplace Harassment Can Happen Outside the Workplace

With warmer weather quickly approaching, many employers are beginning to schedule happy hours, parties, softball games, and other off-site events that employees (and interns) look forward to attending. However, at offsite work events, employees might forget—or might not realize in the first place—that they are still in a workplace setting. This could result in unwelcome behavior, such as sexual harassment, which could leave an employer open to liability.

Under federal law, as well as the law of many states, cities, and municipalities, sexual harassment is considered a type of prohibited gender discrimination. New York City and New York State now require employers to provide their employees with anti-sexual harassment training. States such as California, ConnecticutDelaware, and Maine have similar requirements. Further, even where not required, case law and agency guidance recommend anti-harassment training in several other states. New York does require employers to establish policies against sexual harassment.

Employers should remind their employees that they remain subject to company policies at events outside the workplace.

No matter if harassment occurs at an outside work event or during normal business hours, employers should have clear policies and provide training so that employees are aware of applicable complaint procedures, and can bring any instance of potential sexual harassment to the employer’s attention.

While the summer can be a time for workplace comradery and other off-site events, employers should remember to make sure their employees are aware of their expectations to remain professional and to never engage in discriminatory or harassing behavior.

©2019 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.

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About this Author

Frances Kenajian, Epstein Becker Law Firm, New York, Labor & Employment Litigation, Law Clerk
Law Clerk

FRANCES KENAJIAN* is a Law Clerk – Admission Pending – in the Litigation & Business Disputes practice, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green. She will be focusing her practice on business and labor & employment litigation. 

Ms. Kenajian received her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Brooklyn Law School, where she served as a Notes and Comments Editor of the Brooklyn Law School Journal of Law and Policy and received CALI Excellence for the Future Awards in Labor Law and...

212-351-5547
Nathaniel M. Glasser, Epstein Becker, Labor, Employment Attorney, Publishing
Member

NATHANIEL M. GLASSER is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, in the Washington, DC, office of Epstein Becker Green. His practice focuses on the representation of leading companies and firms, including publishing and media companies, financial services institutions, and law firms, in all areas of labor and employment relations.

Mr. Glasser’s experience includes:

  • Defending clients in employment litigation, from single-plaintiff to class action disputes, brought in federal court, state court, and arbitration tribunals involving claims of unlawful discrimination, harassment, retaliation, breach of contract, defamation, alleged violation of the FLSA and state wage and hour laws, and whistleblowing

  • Representing clients facing charges at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, the District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights, the New York State Division of Human Rights, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and other administrative agencies at the federal, state, and local levels

202-861-1863