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We all prefer people most like ourselves. A labor arbitrator, acting alone, should be cognizant of potential biases arising from his/her background, life experiences and gender. The author posits that, in sexual harassment cases, the arbitrator may identify more with the worker being charged than the woman suffering harassment.

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Sex in the workplace

In Lyle v. Warner Brothers Television, the California Supreme Court ruled that salacious language, if job-related or if not intended to harass or discriminate against the gender of the complainant, does not violate Title VII. The substance of the ruling is described, and suggestions given to employers to protect against sexual discrimination charges. The panel …

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An overview of the advantages and disadvantages, and liability risks associated with 1) adopting policies that limit inter-employee relations and 2) with not adopting such policies.

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The factors that an employer should consider when adopting a policy regulating inter-employee conduct. The author describes two types of policies: a policy requiring the reporting of relationships (for which a reported relationship might warrant a “romance agreement”), and an antinepotism policy (of which antifraternization policies are viewed as a subset).

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In the Cotran decision, the California Supreme Court ruled that the appropriate inquiry in adjudicating a breach of contract claim was whether the employer’s conclusion of misconduct was reached honestly after an “appropriate investigation” (rather than whether the employee actually committed the act). In sexual harassment cases, the issue is whether the employer had a …

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A brief overview of free speech conflicts and rights in the public and private sectors, and the tension between such rights and the employer’s obligations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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Conflicts arising out of work force diversity

A review of the anti-discrimination laws and their application by the Courts. Arbitrators are advised to educate themselves with the requirements of the statutes, and not rely on the parties to do so. Measures that should be taken to ensure compliance with public law are enumerated. Attorney Gibbs gives a labor perspective.

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Professor Rentfro proffers that evolving societal values are reflected in the workplace: sexual harassment cases; drug and alcohol cases (and employee assistance programs); and a breakdown in the social contract that has led to federal rights legislation and employer-promulgated arbitration. Greater emphasis is being placed on the commitments and responsibilities of each party and greater …

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The author addresses the standards that arbitrators should apply when addressing charges of sexual harassment, and the rights of the accused as well as the employer and alleged victim. Helen Neuborne, Exec. Dir. of NOW, notes the importance of arbitrators understanding workplace dynamics and the problems posed for women by sexual harassment, and urges that …

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The author compares arbitral and judicial competence to hear and decide discrimination complaints and concludes that the traditional arbitration model provides as good or better forum for resolving gender discrimination claims. She addresses typical concerns (e.g. that an employee will not be fairly represented; that an arbitrator’s narrow responsibility of contract interpretation does not include …

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