News & Events

Apr 20, 2020

Fresh insights – The Mediation of Sexual-Harassment and Abuse Cases; Which Cases Should Be Mediated and How That Mediation Should Proceed

Tina Turner famously belted out: “What’s love got to do with it?” in her 1984 album, “Private Dancer.” It turns out that Turner was still recovering from a long and abusive marriage to Ike Turner and some of the lyrics reveal her pain and private struggles with that abuse. She sang: “I’ve been taking on a new direction, but I have to say. I’ve been thinking about my own protection. It scares me to feel this way.” The mediation of sexual-harassment or abuse claims presents a unique challenge based upon both subjective interpretations of past behavior and changes in acceptable and unacceptable societal interactions. Both judges and mediators have noticed that the defense asserted in many workplace sexual-harassment cases is grounded upon a contention that the relationship was consensual and mutual. Once a particular line is crossed, however, and the victim of the harassment confers with a lawyer – who may shine a brighter light on what is and is not acceptable conduct in or out of the workplace – the alleged perpetrator may seem surprised by the plaintiff ’s claims that the conduct was actually offensive or unwanted and rises to the level of abuse or harassment


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