Brian Markovitz speaks to The MD Daily Record regarding workplace culture shifts on sexual harassment allegations

December 20, 2017

Joseph Greenwald & Laake principal attorney Brian Markovitz was quoted several times in a Maryland Daily Record Article surrounding a culture shift on sexual harassment allegations. In the wake of accusations of sexual misconduct against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, many employees have come forward in their own workplaces with similar allegations. Now, Maryland attorneys are working to make sure sexual misconduct allegations are handled responsibly.

Markovitz said that as these allegations stay in the headlines, people have become more comfortable with bringing them to light, especially as high-profile people have been speaking openly about their own experiences.

“None of this should be new or shocking to anybody,” Markovitz said in the article. “It’s just that people have had enough.”

In terms of advising employers to handle these accusations responsibly, Markovitz advises firing employees against whom complaints are made. He calls it the “dog-bite rule,” referring to dogs getting one “free bite” before being classified as a dangerous animal.

“If you know someone who’s a sexual harasser, there’s usually something wrong with this employer,” Markovitz said. “They will act again, and you will be responsible for that as you would be as a dog owner.”

Markovitz recommended that complaints of this nature should be made in writing and that an oral complaint should be followed up with an email. He spoke about companies being reluctant to fire employees in the wake of accusations.

“This stuff gets tricky when the company makes it tricky,” Markovitz said, “When you start to dance with the devil, you have a problem.”

Finally, Markovitz recommended that workplaces “be very clear about [their] lines” during the holiday party season, advising preventative steps such as cutting off an open bar or ending the party earlier.

Brian Markovitz is a principal in JGL’s Labor and Employment and Civil Litigation practice groups and focuses on helping victims who have suffered severe injustices in the workplace. He represents individuals in complex employment litigation and appellate matters involving wrongful termination, retaliation by employers in response to reporting fraud or misconduct and discrimination on the basis on race, gender, age and sexual orientation.

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