- Written by Hannah Fortin
In February, former talk show host Tavis Smiley (“Smiley”) filed a Complaint against PBS, asserting that sexual misconduct allegations against him were untrue and were used as an excuse to terminate his employment. On March 20, 2018, PBS responded by filing an Answer to Smiley’s suit. Answers are defendants’ responses to complaints containing defendants’ version of events and can, as in this case, contain defenses offered in response to the plaintiff’s claims as well as counterclaims suing the plaintiff. PBS’ counterclaims include details from the harassment investigation, and it’s also seeking $1.9 million in unused funds from producing his show.
According to PBS’ Answer to Smiley’s suit, after renewing the Tavis Smiley Show in November of 2017, PBS received a complaint from a former subordinate of Smiley asserting that Smiley had repeatedly engaged in sexual misconduct. Subsequently, PBS brought in an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into the complaint.
Through the course of the investigation, several others who had worked with Smiley made similar claims of inappropriate behavior and sexual misconduct; the Answer specifically refers to patterns of “having sexual encounters with subordinates,” “making unwanted sexual advances toward subordinates, including requests for specific sexual acts,” “making inappropriate sexual jokes or lewd comments, including about subordinates’ body parts,” and “creating a verbally abusive and threatening work environment, including that he aggressively cursed at and belittled subordinates.”
- Written by Jennifer Schermerhorn, Rebecca Hause-Schultz, and Hannah Fortin
Annual Update for Allowable Meal Charge
Yesterday, March 21, 2018, the Annual Update to Allowable Charges for Agricultural Workers’ Meals and for Travel Subsistence Reimbursement was published in the Federal Register here. Notably, the maximum amount employers may charge workers for meals has changes, as it is altered based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for Food, which is updated annually. This year, the change was 1.6 percent, altering the allowable meal charge from $12.07 to $12.26 ($12.07 X 1.016 = $12.26). H-2A employers are not permitted to charge a worker more than $12.26 per day for meals without the approval of the OFLC Certifying Officer.