Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 36

TAKING THE STAND
R cord $28 million
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for 2024
Th DC Bar Foundation
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justic for all.
Our 2024 grant portfolio
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in Th ir Hom s
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Th s inv stm nts will h lp
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36 WASHINGTON LAWYER
* MARCH/APRIL 2024
Finally, the order creates a Sexual Harassment
Task Force charged with advising on trainings,
recommending new policies, and drafting
regulations. While the task force's precise
mandate is somewhat vague, the policy
directs the task force to make recommendations
" for building a workplace free from
sexual harassment " to District agencies by
May 1, 2024.
GOING FORWARD
Like most employers' sexual harassment policies,
the District of Columbia's policy is intended
to mitigate the government's liability
by creating robust reporting, investigatory,
and disciplinary measures. It is also designed
to prevent harassment altogether, including
by banning all supervisor-supervisee relationships
and requiring mandatory annual
sexual harassment training for all employees.
But a thorough policy is only the start of a
long journey toward creating a city government
where sexual harassment is not tolerated,
complainants feel comfortable coming
forward, and investigations are independent
and fair. Now that the policy is in effect, commentators
will be watching to see whether
the D.C. government follows through with
the promises it has made on paper. And even
if city officials do adhere to the letter of the
policy, the spirit in which they undertake the
reforms could have deep impacts on the policy's
effectiveness. The promised annual sexual
harassment training, for instance, could be
a wildly ineffective online video that employees
breeze through, or it could be a dynamic
training grounded in research about what
works.⁹ Likewise, the Sexual Harassment Task
Force could be yet another committee slogging
through its somewhat vague mandate
to " meet from time to time " and " make recommendations, "
or it could be an engaging
community forum that solicits input from
employees about their experiences in the
workplace.
Up until October, the D.C. government
had dragged its feet in making meaningful
changes in response to the Falcicchio scandal.10
Kayla
Morin is an associate at Katz Banks
Kumin LLP, an employment and civil rights law
firm based in Washington, D.C. She works on
a broad array of employment and whistleblower
matters, with a particular focus on
sexual assault and sexual harassment cases.
NOTES
1 Disclosure: The author and Katz Banks
Kumin LLP founding partner Debra S. Katz
represent the two D.C. employees.
2 D.C. Code § 2-1402.11(c-2)(3).
3 Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775,
803 (1998) ( " The agency relationship affords
contact with an employee subjected to a
supervisor's sexual harassment, and the victim
may well be reluctant to accept the risks
of blowing the whistle on a superior. " ).
4 eeoc.gov/proposed-enforcement-guidanceharassment-workplace.
5
Byrd v. District of Columbia, 807 F. Supp. 2d 37,
69 (D.D.C. 2011) ( " In light of the disparity in
bargaining power between [plaintiff] and
[her harasser] - who wielded the almost
exclusive power to renew or terminate her
term appointment - any delays in reporting
harassment were reasonable under the
circumstances. " ).
6 Editorial Board, " D.C. Needs a Full Account
of the Sexual Harassment in the Mayor's
Office, " Washington Post (June 21, 2023),
washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/06/21/
dc-sexual-harassment-john-falcicchio.
7 Brice-Saddler, Michael, " D.C. Council Orders
Outside Investigation Into Bowser's
Ex-Aide, " Washington Post (July 11, 2023),
washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/07/11/
dc-council-independent-investigationfalcicchio-bowser-aide.
8
Flynn, Meagan, and Brice-Saddler, Michael, " As
D.C. Weighs Sexual Harassment Policy, Data
Shows Scope of Complaints, " Washington
Post (Oct. 2, 2023), washingtonpost.com/
dc-md-va/2023/10/01/dc-sexual-harassmentcomplaints-policy.
9
Feldblum, Chai R., and Lipnic, Victoria A.,
Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment
in the Workplace (2016), eeoc.gov/selecttask-force-study-harassment-workplace#_
Toc453686310.
The
new policy is the first indication that
the city is ready to live up to its commitment
of rooting out sexual harassment in the workplace.
10
Editorial Board, " Why 'Soon' Is Too
Late for D.C.'s Sexual Harassment Response, "
Washington Post (Oct. 13, 2023),
washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/10/13/
dc-sexual-harassment-mayor-bowser.
http://eeoc.gov/proposed-enforcement-guidance-harassment-workplace http://eeoc.gov/proposed-enforcement-guidance-harassment-workplace http://washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/06/21/dc-sexual-harassment-john-falcicchio http://washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/06/21/dc-sexual-harassment-john-falcicchio http://washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/07/11/dc-council-independent-investigation-falcicchio-bowser-aide http://washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/07/11/dc-council-independent-investigation-falcicchio-bowser-aide http://washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/07/11/dc-council-independent-investigation-falcicchio-bowser-aide http://washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/10/01/dc-sexual-harassment-complaints-policy. http://washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/10/01/dc-sexual-harassment-complaints-policy. http://washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/10/01/dc-sexual-harassment-complaints-policy. http://eeoc.gov/selecttask-force-study-harassment-workplace#_Toc453686310 http://eeoc.gov/selecttask-force-study-harassment-workplace#_Toc453686310 http://eeoc.gov/selecttask-force-study-harassment-workplace#_Toc453686310 http://washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/10/13/dc-sexual-harassment-mayor-bowser http://washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/10/13/dc-sexual-harassment-mayor-bowser http://www.dcbarfoundation.org

Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024

Notice to Members
From Our President
Calendar of Events
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
Defending Diversity: Rise of DEI-Focused Practices
Will Law Firms Stay the Course on Improving Diversity?
Unlocking the Potential of Diverse Talent
We Belong: Black Students in the IP Talent Pipeline
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: Her Legacy Lives on Through Us
Get to Know The Appellate Project
Speaking Up for Lawyers With Invisible Disability
Special Section: 25 Years of the Youth Law Fair
Taking the Stand
Worth Reading
Member Spotlight
On Further Review
Attorney Briefs
Speaking of Ethics
Disciplinary Summaries
The Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 4
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Notice to Members
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Defending Diversity: Rise of DEI-Focused Practices
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 11
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 12
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 13
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Will Law Firms Stay the Course on Improving Diversity?
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 15
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 16
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 17
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Unlocking the Potential of Diverse Talent
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 19
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - We Belong: Black Students in the IP Talent Pipeline
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 21
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 22
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 23
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: Her Legacy Lives on Through Us
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 25
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Get to Know The Appellate Project
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 27
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Speaking Up for Lawyers With Invisible Disability
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 29
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 30
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 31
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Special Section: 25 Years of the Youth Law Fair
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 33
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 35
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 36
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 39
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 43
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 45
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 47
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Cover4
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