Workplace Investigations

Oprah Winfrey’s primetime television interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, revealed deep issues within the workings of a historic institution, one we only read about in books or watch on fictional shows like “The Crown.” While the former senior members of the royal family were talking about their feelings and treatment under the backdrop of family dynamics, they were also discussing a monarchy with an institutional framework that can best be compared to a corporate workplace. References to their family as “the firm” and “going to HR” for assistance were phrases used by Harry and Meghan when discussing the institution.

Continue Reading Handling Allegations of Racism in the Workplace—Would Your Company Have Done Better Than the Palace?

I’m a management-side employment lawyer. It’s my job to go to court and defend employers and executives accused of all different types of misconduct, including sexual harassment. Over the last 20 years, I have seen it all. Some of my cases involve relatively tame allegations, like telling dirty jokes around the watercooler. And I have also been involved with cases involving extremely serious accusations, including indecent exposure, unwanted touching, and sexual assault. I spent a fair amount of time watching the Kavanaugh hearings. Like everyone else I know, I have a strong opinion on whether or not the nomination should be approved, but I did not write this article to share my personal opinions. There are enough political commentators on cable news shows doing that already. From an employment litigation and human resources perspective, there are several important lessons to be learned.
Continue Reading Lessons from the Kavanaugh Hearing

This article originally appeared in Corporate Counsel on January 1, 2017.

Much has been written over the last sixteen months interpreting the shift in U.S. Justice Department policy placing greater emphasis on individual accountability for corporate wrongdoing in federal civil and criminal enforcement proceedings.  Apparently, not all of it was accurate.  In what has become known as the “Yates Memo” issued on September 9, 2015, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates outlined six steps to strengthen the Department’s pursuit of individual wrongdoing in corporate investigations:
Continue Reading Five Common Misconceptions About The Yates Memo