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ABA 14th Annual Labor and Employment Conference: Advanced Workplace Investigation Issues in Sexual Harassment Cases

On November 12, 2020, Kirsten Scheurer Branigan, Esq., served as a moderator and panelist at the 14th Annual ABA Labor & Employment Law Conference in a virtual program entitled “Advanced Workplace Investigation Issues in Sexual Harassment Cases.” The panel was comprised of several accomplished women in the law including Hon. Stephanie M. Jones, Esq., Sheena R. Hamilton, Esq., Julie Richard Spencer, Esq., and Sheree C. Wright. Esq.

The program included a robust discussion on the #MeToo movement has spurred government and corporations to rethink their approaches to harassment issues and how it has never been more important for employers to conduct fair and effective investigations and to ensure that retaliation does not result from raising harassment allegations or participating in such investigations.

Panelists shared perspectives on best practices, including whether to investigate internally or externally; how and when to bring in public relations and communications advisors; how to balance privilege and privacy concerns against demands for transparency from various stakeholders; how to deter related retaliation claims, which often prove successful even when the underlying harassment claims are not substantiated; indemnification and joint defense issues; and the growing trend toward “workplace culture assessments.”

Kirsten Branigan is an experienced Investigator and serves on the Workplace Investigation Subcommittee/Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee of the American Bar Association L&E Section and on the Workplace Investigations Committee of the Executive Board of the New Jersey State Bar Association, L&E Section. She also frequently writes and speaks on the topic of investigations.