Is Asking a Co-Worker on a Date Sexual Harassment?

With the recent focus on the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, many employees may be questioning their own judgment when it comes to interactions with co-workers. It is not always easy to discern the difference between sincere communication with good intentions, and unlawful sexual harassment.

And no one wants to end up with a sexual harassment lawsuit or accused of sexual misconduct, so a brief refresher is in order.

It is probably not sexual harassment if you ask a colleague out on a date. In fact, a study from the popular job site CareerBuilder found that nearly 40 percent of participants have dated a co-worker, and 31 percent ended up marrying someone with whom they worked.

However, not all employees take no for an answer

The Harvard Crimson Year In Review

At Harvard, 2021 was a year marked by change. The school’s long-awaited return to in-person operations injected new life into a campus that had been left dormant for over a year by Covid-19. And in an unexpected shift, the University announced its intention to divest its endowment from fossil fuels after a decade of public pressure. Separately, faculty controversies — including a federal conviction and a high-profile departure — ignited debates that rippled across academia. Below, The Crimson looks back at the 10 stories that shaped the last year at Harvard.

Throwing out the $4.5 billion settlement with Purdue Pharma is the right call

A federal judge’s decision to overturn a $4.5 billion settlement between Purdue Pharma and assorted state, local, and tribal governments is the right call. The settlement wrongly shielded the billionaire Sackler family, who owned the company that made the prescription painkiller OxyContin, from any and all civil liability in opioid-related tragedies.

As reported by The New York Times, the settlement was part of a complex restructuring plan for Purdue Pharma that was approved in September by a bankruptcy judge. But Judge Colleen McMahon of the US District of New York pulled the plug on it, because it protected the Sackler family from future civil lawsuits. After the Sacklers took more than $10 billion out of it, Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy. The Sacklers, who did not file for personal bankruptcy, offered to contribute toward the original settlement, “if – and only if – every member of the family could ‘achieve global peace’ from all civil [not criminal] litigation,” the judge wrote. And that, she said, was wrong. She did, however, also call the legal issue of the Sacklers’ release “a great unsettled question” of bankruptcy law and wrote, “This opinion will not be the last word on the subject, nor should it.”

Three face charges over Chevy Chase company’s acquisition of lead poisoning settlements

Maryland’s attorney general has obtained criminal indictments against three men accused of making money as a Chevy Chase company obtained long-term settlements from victims of lead poisoning.

The men are accused of collectively giving the victims lump-sum payout equal to less than one-third of the estimated full value of the settlements.

Raffi Boghosian, 43, of Rockville; Charles Edward Smith Jr., 43, of Rockville; and Anuj Sud, 43, of Laurel, each face one count of theft scheme over $100,000 and one count of conspiracy to commit theft scheme of over $100,000.

Boghosian and Smith could not be reached for comment Tuesday. When a reporter tried to call Sud, the number was disconnected. Attorneys for the three men were not listed in the state’s court case database

Gov. Gianforte Reaffirms Montana Law Banning Discrimination Based On Vaccination Status

Governor Greg Gianforte has provided guidance to Montana employers and employees impacted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule mandating vaccines for employers with 100 or more employees nationwide. 

“Montana law is unequivocal: employers are prohibited from discriminating based on vaccination status,” Gov. Gianforte wrote in guidance to Montanans. “While employers may encourage employees to vaccinate, they may not tie or modify any terms of employment based on vaccination status.”

On Nov. 5, 2021, OSHA published the “COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard” applicable to employers with 100 or more employees nationwide. The OSHA mandate violates Montana law prohibiting discrimination based on a person’s vaccination status. 

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