Agenda, the magazine for board directors about corporate board news, turned to Kostelanetz & Fink partner Claude Millman for comments about how members of a corporate board should handle an investigation of #MeToo allegations.
The article said: “Claude Millman, partner at firm Kostelanetz & Fink and former assistant U.S. attorney, emphasizes the risks linked to heavy board involvement when sexual harassment allegations are at issue. ‘It will usually be in the company’s interest to avoid involving members of a board in a sexual harassment allegation,’ he says, ‘since anyone who plays a role in the investigation risks becoming a witness in any subsequent litigation or becoming the subject of a retaliation claim. . . . Millman [says] that, while it may be lawful for a company insider to carry out an investigation, it is generally best to rely on a neutral and independent investigator. Furthermore, minimizing the number of people involved in investigating and addressing the sexual harassment complaint serves to limit the individuals who could be accused of retaliation. Asked about a situation in which someone making an allegation of harassment is advised to stay out of the office, Millman says it would not be advisable to ‘compel’ an employee to temporarily leave the company. An employee may prefer to be placed on leave, but forcing the issue or presenting that as all but the sole option again creates the danger of retaliation claims, he says.”
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