Course Description:

It has been a number of years since the Supreme Court definitely stated that a hostile working environment due to a protected class violates Title VII. In light of these cases, lower courts are finding a hostile working environment that at once would have been unimaginable. Cases have found hostile working environments, for example, when one is perceived to a homosexual even though it is not a protected class. Courts have also been struggling with the idea that Title VII is not a civility code. If it is not a civility code, what behavior can be considered “severe and pervasive” to cross the line? This course will also discuss new theories of sex discrimination such as “sex plus” discrimination.

What’s at stake here? Depending on the situation, your company could be looking at back pay, an order of reinstatement (front pay if this is not possible), and compensatory and punitive damages. And, of course, attorneys’ fees (both yours and the plaintiff’s). While compensatory and punitive damages are capped under federal law, many states have their own anti-discrimination laws which have no caps.

Learning Objective:

Key goals of the conference will include learning:

  • Learning how harassment law has evolved since the passage of Title VII.
  • Analyzing Supreme Court decisions and how they have been construed to cover those that might not otherwise be covered under Title VII.
  • Analyzing lower court decisions of “who is the supervisor”?
  • Understanding what is a tangible employment action?
  • What should be in an harassment policy?
  • How to conduct a proper investigation and how to document the investigation.
  • Understanding how your company may be an employer even if you're not signing the paycheck.
  • How to avoid retaliation claims.
  • Understanding the new theories of sex discrimination.
  • Analyzing pending legislation.

Who will Benefit:

Those who have responsibility for human resource or supervisory functions, both large and small corporations, and governmental entities.  In house legal counsel who has responsibility of overseeing human resources will also benefit.  Supervisors will benefit greatly from the second day of the program.

  • Senior Executives
  • Directors
  • Managers
  • HR
  • Supervisors

Course Outline:

Day One - Understanding Harassment and New Legal Theories     Day Two - Conducting the Investigation and Nuts and Bolts
  1. Update on What Type of Behavior is Considered Harassment under the Law
    1. History of How Harassment Became Illegal
    2. Important Cases throughout history, including Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, Burlington Industries v. Ellerth, City of Boca Raton v. Faragher
  2. Harassment Cases after Vinson, Ellerth, and Faragher
    1. Title VII isn’t intended to be a “civil morality code” – so when is harassment considered to be illegal?
    2. How the courts are defining and applying the requirement that conduct be “severe and pervasive”
      1. Sexual Harassment
      2. Racial Harassment
      3. National Origin Harassment
      4. Same Sex Harassment
      5. Harassment based on Stereotypes
    3. When is the Employer Liable?
      1. Supervisor Harassment
        1. Who is a supervisor (including discussion currently pending before the Supreme Court on this issue)
        2. Hostile Work environment
        3. Tangible Employment Action
      2. Co-Workers and Third Parties
        1. Application of knew or should have known standard.
        2. Application of the Ellerth/Faragher affirmative defense.
        3. Drafting an effective harassment policy to withstand scrutiny under Ellerth/Faragher?
        4. When can it be said that an employee unreasonably failed to use the employer’s complaint procedures?
  3. New Theories of Sex Discrimination
    1. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Issues
    2. Sex-Plus Discrimination
    3. The EEOC’s latest stance on employees being subjected to domestic violence

  1. Conducting an Investigation and Avoiding liability
    1. Triggering the Investigation
      1. What Conduct Puts an Employer on Notice?
        1. Official Complaints
        2. “Knew or Should Have Known”
          1. Hearsay
          2. Rumor Mill
          3. Off Duty Conduct
          4. New Social Media Concerns
  2. Who should conduct the investigation? Understanding the Risks with Each Choice
    1. In house counsel
    2. Outside counsel
    3. Human Resources
    4. Supervisor
  3. Handling Employee Grievances
    1. Grievance Principles
    2. Dealing with Complainants and Witnesses
    3. Managing a Grievance Investigation Fairly
  4. Documenting the Investigation
    1. Getting a Statement from the Complainant
    2. Getting Statements from Witnesses
    3. How to Document Your Conclusions to Stand Up in Court
    4. What to Do When Your Investigation is Inconclusive
  5. Avoiding Retaliation Claims
    1. When is conduct considered to be “protected activity”?
    2. What conduct can be construed as retaliatory?
    3. Handling the Employee Who Engages in Protective Activity While a Termination is In Progress
  6. Conclusion

Meet Your Instructor

Susan Desmond
Partner, Jackson Lewis LLP

Ms. Desmond, who maintains an active practice in both Louisiana and Mississippi, specializes in the areas of labor and employment and civil litigation, including representing employers in Family and Medical Leave cases, discrimination claims relative to age, sex, disability, race, religion, and sexual harassment, and handling EEOC charges and other administrative complaints through the administrative and judicial process. She is a frequent speaker for the Society for Human Resource Management, Compliance Online, and other management organizations.

Ms. Desmond also routinely counsels clients on a variety of employment practices, including employment contracts and employee handbooks and policies. She conducts employee training seminars, harassment investigations, and frequently speaks on employment-related topics.

Ms. Desmond is admitted to practice law in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Colorado. She is a member of the Federal and American Bar Associations (member, Labor and Employment Law Section; past chair, Labor Committee; Executive Council Coordinator, Young Lawyers Section; member, Torts and Insurance Practice Section; member, Emerging Issues Committee). Ms. Desmond has served as a director for both The Mississippi Bar Young Lawyers Division and the Jackson Young Lawyers Association.

Register Now

Online using Credit card

Get the Invitation
Pre-Register yourself and get the official Invite when venue and dates are announced for this seminar.
Call here to register +1-888-717-2436 or email at

Other Registration Option

By order form / PO#

Payment Mode

By Check -
Pay your check to (payee name) “MetricStream Inc” our parent company and Mail the check to:

ComplianceOnline (MetricStream, Inc),
2479 East Bayshore Road Suite 200
Palo Alto, CA 94303

By Wire -

Register / Pay by Wire Transfer

Please contact us to get details of wire transfer option.

Terms & Conditions to register for the Seminar/Conference/Event

Your Registration for the seminar is subject to following terms and conditions. If you need any clarification before registering for this seminar please call us @ +1-888-717-2436 or email us @

Payment is required before 2 days of the date of the conference. We accept American Express, Visa and MasterCard. Make checks payable to MetricStream Inc. ( our parent company)

Cancellations and Substitutions:
Written cancellations through fax or email (from the person who has registered for this conference) received at least 10 calendar days prior to the start date of the event will receive a refund — less a $75 administration fee. No cancellations will be accepted — nor refunds issued — within 10 calendar days from the start date of the event.

On request by email or fax (before the seminar) a credit for the amount paid minus administration fees ($75) will be transferred to any future ComplianceOnline event and a credit note will be issued.

Substitutions may be made at any time. No-shows will be charged the full amount.

We discourage onsite registrations, however if you wish to register onsite payment to happen through credit card immediately or check to be submitted onsite. Conference material will be given on the spot if it is available after distributing to other attendees. In case it is not available we will send the material after the conference is over.

In the event ComplianceOnline cancels the seminar, ComplianceOnline is not responsible for any airfare, hotel, other costs or losses incurred by registrants. Some topics and speakers may be subject to change without notice.

Attendance confirmation and Documents to carry to the seminar venue:
After we receive the payment from the registered attendee an electronic event pass will be sent to the email address associated with the registrant before 5 working days from the seminar date. Please bring the pass to the venue of the event.

Conference photograph / video:
By registering and attending ComplianceOnline conference you agree to have your photographs or videos taken at the conference venue and you do not have any objections to use these photos and videos by ComplianceOnline for marketing, archiving or any other conference related activities. You agree to release ComplianceOnline for any kind of claims arising out of copyright or privacy violations.

Media Partners


Media Partner Benefits
  • Logo and company data on the event website.
  • Logo on the conference material distributed during the conference.
  • Media Partner’s brochure distributed along with conference material.
  • Logo on all the mailings before and after the event.
  • 10% discount to media partner's subscribers.

Media Partner to do
  • Banner (min 728x90 or 468x60) on the Media Partner website.
  • Insertion of the event in the event calendar, both printed and/or online.
  • Announcement article of the conference on the Magazine and/or Website.
  • Dedicated email blast to all subscribers of Media Partner.
  • Article on the Magazine and/or Website after the conference.

Local Attractions

Welcome to the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans. Every night of the week, the streets and clubs of the Big Easy are still alive with vibrant music. From traditional jazz to acid jazz, there's something for every ear, every day of the week.

With over 45 museums throughout the city to choose from, it's easy to immerse yourself in the city's history, culture and arts.

One block over from the raucousness of Bourbon Street is the French Quarter’s more refined and elegant epicenter of local artistic culture. Royal Street is an eye-pleasing mix of classy antique shops and boutiques, fine jewelry stores, colorful art galleries and world-class hotels and restaurants.

There’s a reason so many visitors flock to the French Quarter every day – both locals and tourists can’t get enough of the unique area’s unique attractions. From the beautiful architecture to art galleries, museums, restaurants, and bars, the French Quarter has something for everyone – no matter what your interests, budget, or age may be. Join up with a tour and learn more about the fascinating history of the area, or spend the entire day exploring and shopping in the area, topping everything off with an excellent meal in a world-famous restaurant and some live music. With so much culture, history, and entertainment, you’ll find a unique and exciting experience around every corner.

Although this historic French Quarter street has a bawdy reputation due to the burlesque clubs and all-night partying, come experience a whole other side of Bourbon Street steeped in history, folk lore and beauty that dates back to 1718 when New Orleans was founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. Also known as “Rue Bourbon,” this historic street sits at the heart of the French Quarter extending 13 blocks from Canal St. to Esplanade Avenue.

We need below information to serve you better

Best Sellers
You Recently Viewed