Say you're on a work trip, and off the clock, your boss makes an unwanted and unwarranted sexual advance toward you. Or say you're an executive who's accused of something wrongly.
Who do you turn to for guidance, without an HR department or in house counsel on hand? For use by either side of a harassment incident, there’s now an app.
Veteran employment law attorney Marc Garbar, currently of counsel at Bertone Piccini LLP in Hasbrouck Heights, dropped the free app HarassmentLaw this week to provide employees and employers with valuable guidance on sexual harassment and employment discrimination. It covers what the law says, what protections are afforded to whom, and what to do if you’ve found yourself on either side of a harassment incident.
What makes this app better than a Google search isn’t just the cut-to-the-chase information — the “daunting task of searching the internet for important, exigent information is transformed into a hassle-free support system,” in Garbar’s words — but the 24/7 attorney access it provides. Garbar and his team of a half dozen lawyers are available in shifts to answer legal questions regarding harassment at any time, day or night.
Garbar started creating the app about a year ago, but kicked its creation into high gear with the advent of #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, which he said has invariably made his job much busier.
“There is no place for the executive or business owner who can be accused to have uncertainty and not know what to do, especially a business owner in a midsize company that has someone working for them who has been accused of harassment by another employee,” said Garbar. “A lot of times that can be answered by HR, but a lot of midsize companies don’t have [an HR department]. This is a place to turn for the resources and support. It’s an educational tool.”
Garbar stresses that the app should not be used in place of 911 in instances of sexual assault, and the app’s FAQ clearly states that any contact with an attorney through the app is merely to provide information, not give privileged legal counsel.
HarassmentLaw is available through both Google Play and Apple’s App Store.