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Harassment & Bullying Investigations: What to Know When Conducting Effective Investigations

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 93 minutes
Recorded Date: September 25, 2018
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  • Overview of unlawful harassment and bullying
  • Establishing claim and reporting procedures
  • Responding to employee complaints of harassment and bullying
  • Guiding the unio through potential conflicts
  • Investigating workplace harassment and bullying
  • After the investigation is over
Runtime: 1 hour and 33 minutes
Recorded: September 25, 2018


The best way to protect your organization from being sued for a hostile work environment is to work swiftly and efficiently to investigate the claims. Numerous issues may arise in the course of an investigation of a workplace complaint, particularly a complaint about acts that might violate Title VII, ADA, ADEA, or other equal employment opportunity laws.

Discrimination based on a protected category such as race or sexual harassment may create a hostile work environment. An employee may also experience a hostile work environment after attempting or threatening to report illegal conduct, such as age discrimination.

Organizations are liable for the actions of employees that create hostile work environments through their actions, or rather inaction.

This program was recorded on September 25th, 2018.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Leslie E. Silverman

Fortney & Scott

Leslie E. Silverman is a shareholder at Fortney & Scott, LLC where she counsels and advises clients on complying with workplace laws, dealing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, other government agencies and Congress, and on a wide range of workplace issues, including harassment, pay equity, disability discrimination, employment screening, and diversity and inclusion.

Ms. Silverman represents clients before the EEOC and other government agencies and conducts high-level investigations. She is currently serving as an consent decree monitor in connection with EEOC sexual and racial harassment and disability discrimination class action settlements and on a Fortune 50 company’s external diversity advisory board. Ms. Silverman served as the Vice Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission until September 2008, and as a Member of the Commission starting in 2002. As a Member of the EEOC, Ms. Silverman oversaw the development and approval of enforcement policies, authorized litigation, and issued Commissioner’s charges of discrimination.

While at the Commission, Ms. Silverman initiated and led the EEOC’s Systemic Task Force, which examined the EEOC’s efforts at combating systemic discrimination. In April 2006, the Commission unanimously adopted the Task Force recommendations. Ms. Silverman also helped spearhead the Commission’s examination of discrimination against workers with caregiving responsibilities, and this effort culminated in the issuance of EEOC enforcement guidance. During her tenure on the Commission, Ms. Silverman led an effort to expand and enhance the EEOC’s mediation program in partnership with the American Bar Association.

Ms. Silverman served on the Society for Human Resource Management’s Labor Experts Panel from 2009-2014. She has also served as an EEO expert in a number of private-sector diversity initiatives, including the Center for Worklife Law’s Family Responsibilities Discrimination Management Brain Trust; the Center for Work-Life Policy’s “Hidden Brain Drain” Task Force; the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2008 Leadership Summit on Diversity and Inclusion Issues in the 21st Century; and the World Diversity Leadership Summit. Ms. Silverman served on a special expert’s panel charged with addressing gender diversity at the United Nations, and in 2008, Ms. Silverman was a member of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva.

Immediately prior to joining the EEOC, Ms. Silverman served for five years as Labor Counsel to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee under Chairman James M. Jeffords and Ranking Member Judd Gregg. As Labor Counsel, Ms. Silverman was responsible for the oversight of the EEOC and the Department of Labor and for handling all employment discrimination, Fair Labor Standards Act, and Family Medical Leave Act legislation on behalf of the Committee.

Ms. Silverman is a frequent speaker on EEO law and the EEOC, both in the United States and abroad.

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Amanda Green Hawkins

Assistant General Counsel and Director
United Steelworkers

Hawkins represents the Steelworkers Union in matters throughout the United States in various federal courts, including the U.S. Court of International Trade, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Fourth Circuit, Sixth Circuit, and the District of Columbia Circuit, and the U.S. District Court in St. Croix. She is admitted to the bar in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and also served as a mediator in the Superior Court of NJ, Special Civil Part.

She was appointed to Allegheny County Council for Council District 13 on March 18, 2008. During her first nine (9) months on County Council, she introduced legislation to audit the voting machines used in elections, and she introduced legislation to form a county-wide Human Relations Commission to enforce an ordinance to prohibit discrimination against people in employment, housing and public accommodations, based on their race, religion, and sexual orientation, among other things.

Hawkins was selected for a nationwide Labor, Employment and Workplace Committee for the Obama-Biden Campaign. She has also served as a voter-protection attorney for the Democratic Party in 2004 and 2006, and for the Obama-Biden Campaign’s Counsel for Change in 2008. She is Vice-chair of the Board of Directors for Venture Outdoors, a mentor for Strong Women Strong Girls, and a member of the Advisory Board for Friends of the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA).

She is an alumnus of Duke University in Durham, NC and Northeastern Univ. School of Law in Boston, MA. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, she was a law clerk for the Hon. Lawrence M. Lawson in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Monmouth County, and has she also acquired legal experience in Newark, New Jersey, New York City, and Washington, DC.

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Lori D. Ecker

Founder & Attorney
Law Office of Lori D. Ecker

Ms. Ecker is the Employee Co-Chair of the Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and a Co-chair of the Section’s Membership Development Committee. She is a member of the Chicago Bar Association (Past Co-Chair, Labor and Employment Committee); the Illinois Bar Association, National Employment Lawyers Association; National Employment Lawyers Association-Illinois (Past President and Founding Executive Board Member); and the American Arbitration Association Roster of Neutrals, Employment Law. Ms. Ecker is also a member of the National LGBT Bar Association and WPATH, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.

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Mark Schickman

Of Counsel
Freeland Cooper & Foreman LLP

Mark Schickman has been practicing employment and labor law for 40 years. He has successfully litigated almost every type of employment case in the courts, before juries and administrative agencies and on appeal. He provides employment advice to employers across the country. He is also an experienced and effective litigator, doing civil commercial trial work before judges and juries. He speaks and writes on litigation and employment law nationally, and has been quoted in legal and general circulation publications across the country. Mark is a member of the American Arbitration Association's select panel of employment law arbitrators and is the Editor of the California Employment Law Letter.

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