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Avoiding Sexual Harassment Claimhttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=66Avoiding Sexual Harassment Claim<div><strong>AVOIDING SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIMS</strong><br><em>By Justin Pierce - Pierce Coleman, PLLC</em></div><div><br>In the last few months we’ve seen a flurry of harassment and sexual assault allegations, resignations, investigations, and news reports of all of these things that have dominated the headlines. It’s a good time to remind employers of their obligations and best practices when it comes to these issues in order to minimize, or avoid altogether, liability associated with such claims.<br>Well-established United States Supreme Court case law makes clear that an employer who receives information about a potential harassment situation in the workplace can avoid liability if the employer promptly investigates and takes prompt and appropriate action to eliminate the harassment. The following are key points to keep in mind:<br>1. If supervisors have reason to believe there is a harassment situation occurring, whether there has been a formal complaint or not, the duty to act begins.<br>Often, we hear that the victim or witness haven’t yet filed a formal complaint, or haven’t reduced the complaint to writing, and so employers think they can wait until such things happen. Even if your policy requires a formal or written complaint, the duty to act begins when you know, or have enough information to have a reasonably good idea, that harassment may be occurring.<br>Don’t act alone; the AMRRP’s Personnel Assistance Lifeline (PAL) is a free service to members and will allow you to consult with employment law counsel on the process.<br>2. Investigate.<br>Sometimes the allegations are such that an outside investigator is warranted. However, in most situations this is an investigation that can be performed internally. Things to consider in the investigation are whether there is competent evidence that there has been verbal, physical, or visual conduct that would be offensive to a reasonable person, and based on sex. Note, however, that any protected category – including things such as race, religion, disability, and age – can serve as a basis for a harassment claim if the offensive conduct is severe or pervasive enough. Among other things, examples of verbal conduct are:<br>• Demands for sexual favors<br>• Sexually-graphic statements<br>• Demeaning jokes of a sexual nature<br>• The description of an employee’s anatomy or body in direct sexual or sexually-suggestive terms<br>• Dirty jokes<br>• Describing sexual experiences and preferences<br>Among others, some examples of physical conduct are:<br>• Unwanted touching<br>• Touching a body part, particularly in an area that cannot be explained as inadvertent<br>• Encroaching upon an individual’s physical space<br>• Blocking an individual’s movement<br>• Massages<br>And a non-exhaustive list of visual conduct are things like:<br>• Pornography<br>• Sexually-suggestive e-mails or screen savers on computers<br>• Cartoons or pictures that depict either sex in a demeaning way<br>• Other individuals engaged in potentially offensive sexual behavior, even of a non-graphic nature<br>3. Make findings of fact.<br>Determine whether the evidence supports that the type of conduct noted above has occurred. Importantly, do not conclude based on your findings that unlawful harassment has in fact occurred. That is a legal determination. Keep your findings to whether the conduct occurred and at most, whether the conduct violates the employer’s policies.<br>4. Take action based on the findings.<br>The victim needs to be made aware of the findings so that the victim (and the other employees for that matter) know that you took the allegations seriously. If the findings demonstrate that violations of the policies have occurred, the employer needs to take action to make sure the conduct doesn’t happen again. That usually means disciplining the employee or employees who engaged in the harassment (up to, and including, termination).<br>5. Train your supervisors and employees.<br>Supervisors and employees should be trained on their duties and responsibilities with regard to preventing harassment in the workplace. Specifically, the EEOC has issued guidance on certain types of trainings that should be done with regard to retaliation in the midst of a harassment complaint. In addition to the PAL program offered by AMRRP, members also have the benefit of engaging employment counsel to conduct specialized trainings for their employees and supervisors at a reduced flat fee of $1,500.</div><div><br>Justin S. Pierce<br>4711 E. Falcon Dr., Suite 111<br>Mesa, AZ 85215<br>Office: 602-772-5507<br>Mobile: 480-776-9343<br><a href="mailto:Justin@PierceColeman.com">Justin@PierceColeman.com</a><br><a href="http://www.PierceColeman.com">http://www.PierceColeman.com</a></div>
Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) - Globally Harmonized System (GHS) - Safety Data Sheets (SDS)https://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=64Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) - Globally Harmonized System (GHS) - Safety Data Sheets (SDS)Dear AMRRP Members: <br> </p>Due to a number of recent requests, please note the following information and associated link to answer questions regarding the new HCS, GHS & SDS requirements, which replace the old Hazard Communication/MSDS format. </p> Overview</p> The new Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is now aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This update to the Hazard Communication Standard will provide a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets (SDS). </p> Timeline</p> This required program was introduced worldwide in 2012 with five date-deadlines to compliance. The final deadline was June 1, 2016. Full compliance is now required. Various steps to compliance included employee training, updating your old hazard communication plan as necessary to reflect new chemical label design and SDS formats, and/or (recommended) establishing a new GHS - Hazard Communication program and relabeling of all older chemical containers, tanks, etc. to meet the new SDS standard. </p> Compliance will be enforced by ADOSH/OSHA. </p> For additional information and Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the following OSHA link. https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/hazcom-faq.html</p> Please contact your AMRRP Loss Control representative if you have any additional questions. </p>
TriageNow Workers’ Compensation Loss Control Programhttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=63TriageNow Workers’ Compensation Loss Control ProgramAMRRP’s TriageNow Workers’ Compensation Loss Control Program provides employees with the right level of care, while saving Members thousands in Workers’ Compensation expenses.<br> <p>Regardless of how comprehensive your municipality’s safety program is; workplace injuries still occur. It is human nature that things happen to cause injuries in the workplace despite ample training and precautions. When injuries happen, many employees do not feel comfortable having a Manager or Human Resources determine what is medically necessary and may insist on Urgent or Emergency Care. Additionally, the municipality may not want the liability of medical decision making, and routinely leave the decision in the hands of the employee.</p> <p>Statistics in a recent study from the Workers’ Compensation industry show that over 70% of all workplace injuries are minor and do not need clinical intervention to resolve. A large majority of these injuries are sprains and bruises and First Aid or Self Care will help resolve the injury and facilitate return to work. With TriageNow, a Registered Nurse is available 24/7 and with a simple phone call, an RN will assess the workplace injury at the time of the incident and quickly recommend the best level of care. This can reduce your municipality’s overall claim volume by 44% or more! </p> <p>Budget considerations are key to public entities, and the opportunity to reduce overall costs while improving the care of workers is particularly beneficial. Every dollar not spent on unnecessary clinic visits and increasing Workers’ Compensation costs is money that supports the budget. With TriageNow, your City or Town will experience fewer claims overall, reducing the costs associated with Worker’s Compensation and unnecessary medical treatment. </p> <p>To access TriageNow benefits, Members can call Lori Bosken at (480) 822-0322 or email lbosken@triagenow.com to initiate the onboarding process. Please visit http://www.triagenow.net/ for more information.</p> <p>TriageNow—“Because injured employees deserve the appropriate level of care, and the company shouldn’t pay more than necessary for this care.” </p>
Webinar Replay!https://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=60Webinar Replay!Did you miss the recent AMRRP Webinar event? Did you attend, but want to share the valuable information you received with your co-workers and employees? </p> Click <a href="https://youtu.be/cbP9T-ftGYg"> <u>HERE</u></a> to access a recording of the Webinar, which contains presentations and discussion on a variety of topics, including e-mods and how they affect your premium; loss control solutions; and claims information.</p> <i>Be sure to check the News Feed regularly for invites to future Webinar events!</i>
Intergovernmental Agreement Review Programhttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=49Intergovernmental Agreement Review ProgramOver the past several years, the AMRRP Board of Trustees has engaged in discussions about the impact of intergovernmental agreements, including mutual and automatic aid agreements, on member liability. The topic gained significant focus in the aftermath of the Yarnell Hill tragedy. Early in 2014, the Board approved a project to assist in identifying the scope of the IGA issue, asking member cities and towns to submit their existing IGAs for a limited review of liability concerns, including indemnity language and insurance requirements. Part of the evaluation process included informational presentations at the Arizona City Attorneys’ Association annual conference, and at the 2014 Annual League of Cities and Towns conference. Out of the project came the structure for a new program to be added to the review and assistance programs already available to members (PAL, LUAL, PSAP) which was formally approved by the Board of Trustees in November.</p> Lessons we learned in the review project that can be applied going forward:</p> <ol><li>For those IGAs where a city/town must indemnify another agency for that agency’s negligence (usually ADOT), changes in state law are necessary. In cooperation with the League, legislation has been prepared that will give cities and towns protection by making contracts illegal that require one party to an IGA to indemnify another party for that party’s negligence. The League is taking the lead in working to pass that legislation. <li>There is language that may already be in your ADOT IGAs that will take advantage of the new legislation, if passed. If not, attached is language that you should require going forward. ADOT has agreed to this language. <li>ADOT has already agreed to language for some cities and towns that all municipalities should require. <ul><li> If ADOT requires your city/town to indemnify ADOT for its subcontractors’ negligence, your city/town should obtain indemnity protection from ADOT’s subcontractors. ADOT has agreed to language that will give you that protection. That language is attached and you should insist on it. Under this language, even though your city/town may have to indemnify ADOT for its subcontractors’ negligence, with this ADOT-approved language you can tender the defense to ADOT’s subcontractors. <li> ADOT has drafted indemnity provisions that greatly limit ADOT’s ability to enforce the indemnity. Attached is an example. This language should only be used in agreements where the city/town is seeking to avoid indemnity liability. <li> You likely have many other joint agreements with other agencies (often times called Mutual Aid or Automatic Aid Agreements). There are specific posting requirements under the workers’ compensation statutes that a city/town must satisfy to preserve protections afforded by the statutes (the language is specified in the statutes). Attached is language that you can use in these agreements.</ol></p> The review also led to the development of a checklist that can be used by city/town attorneys to review existing IGAs. Ultimately, the checklist for existing agreements as well as the Key Provisions for future IGAs do not replace your city/town attorney, but rather provide additional resources for him/her to assist you in limiting potential liability and creating leverage when negotiating with other agencies that have a tendency to be unaccommodating when negotiating IGAs.</p> Starting on January 1, 2015, member cities and towns will be able to submit proposed IGAs and Mutual and Automatic Aid Agreements for review prior to consideration and approval. The informational flyer for this new Program is also attached.</p> We hope you will take advantage of all of the programs and value-added features of your membership in the Arizona Municipal Risk Retention Pool. And as always, you can contact our Pool Administrator, Southwest Risk Services, with any questions or assistance needs.

 UPCOMING EVENTS

 

 

Executive Meetinghttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/Events/EventItem.aspx?ID=2892018-01-05T18:00:00ZExecutive Meeting
Loss Controlhttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/Events/EventItem.aspx?ID=2902018-01-11T16:00:00ZLoss Control
Boardhttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/Events/EventItem.aspx?ID=2912018-01-19T22:00:00ZBoard
Financehttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/Events/EventItem.aspx?ID=2922018-03-14T14:00:00ZFinance
Financehttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/Events/EventItem.aspx?ID=2932018-03-23T14:00:00ZFinance

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