Rohan’s journey with mental illness has taken him from Medical School to prison. He is now managing his condition with both medication and therapy. This is a story of recovery and of perseverance. Rohan: I can’t forget to thank Dr. Vivian Chern Shnaidman for going above and beyond for me during this especially difficult time; you’re the proof that there are doctors who truly care about their patients, and for that I am so grateful.
Adam Bierman, Kurt Tazelaar, Raya Arbil and Dr. Vivian Shnaidman discuss political party conventions, police shootings, black lives matter and other current topics
Vivian is an expert in the application of psychiatry to legal matters, and has provided testimony in over 50 published court cases.
Vivian Chern Shnaidman, MD wrote Forensic Psychiatry: A Lawyer’s Guide, published by Elsevier, to help lawyers understand their psychiatric expert witnesses.
Adam Bierman, Kurt Tazelaar, Sandra Jordan and Dr. Vivian Schnaidman discuss voting and voter suppression and other topics on the Breezin’ with Bierman Roundtable
Recently one of Fox News’ television anchors asserted that her boss created a hostile work environment due to unwanted sexual advances. What exactly is a hostile work environment?
Hostile environment/sexual harassment occurs when the plaintiff employee’s work environment is made intolerable by sexual misconduct, or the work environment is permeated with unwelcome discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult, based upon sex, that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment. Unwelcome sexual conduct that interferes with job performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment creates a hostile work environment.
How is a Hostile Work Environment Proven?
The plaintiff need not show that the harasser knew that the conduct was unwelcome, just that it was in fact unwelcome. In other words, the plaintiff doesn’t not have to tell the harasser to stop or notify him that his comments and actions are upsetting.
In order to allege a hostile work environment, it is not necessary to allege any sexual advances whatsoever. Nor does the conduct have to be stamped with explicit signs of overt discrimination, or be explicitly sexual in nature. It just has to relate to sex or be part of a course of conduct tied to evidence of discriminatory intent. Sexually harassing conduct that sufficiently offends, humiliates, distresses or intrudes upon its victims so as to disrupt their emotional tranquility in the workplace, affect their ability to perform their job as usual, or otherwise interfere with and undermine their personal sense or well being, constitutes a sexually hostile environment.
Hostile Work Environment Evaluation
Determining whether a given situation constitutes a hostile environment is a “fact-based inquiry into the severity and pervasiveness of the conduct…the jury looks at all the circumstances supported by credible evidence.” However, a single incident of sexual assault sufficiently alters the conditions of the victim’s employment to create an abusive work environment.
Evaluations of whether a hostile work environment exists are based on 1) the nature of the unwelcome sexual acts (considering that generally touching is more offensive than verbal remarks); 2) the frequency of the offensive encounters; 3) the total number of days over which all of the offensive conduct occurs; and 4) the context in which the sexually harassing conduct occurred.
I recently had the pleasure of being on the Dr. Joy Show from Princeton Community Television. There I had the opportunity to discuss the field of forensic psychiatry, and share about some of my experiences. If you are an attorney interested in finding out more about forensic psychiatry check out my comprehensive lawyers guide book on the subject.
Female sex offender evaluations, as with males evaluations, is predominately driven by the need to establish the likelihood of future recurrences of sexual offending behavior and to identify interventions that would reduce their risk of recidivism.
In order to make a determination of risk of sexual recidivism, one must consider the individual characteristics of the offender that increase or decrease the probability of recidivism. These are referred to as static and dynamic factors. Dynamic risk factors are amenable to change and the elements that are addressed in treatment and in the management of sexual offenders in order to reduce the risk of recidivism. Risk factors may indicate a higher risk of recidivism than other female sex offenders.
Static risk factors for female sex offenders include:
- A prior criminal history;
- Number of prior convictions;
- Number of prior sexual offense arrests;
- Number of prior child abuse offenses (non-sexual);
- Number of prior drug arrests.
Dynamic risk factors for female sex offenders include:
- Denial and minimization of the offending behavior;
- Distorted view about the sexual offending and sexual abuse in general;
- Problematic relationship (e.g., characterized by abuse) and intimacy deficits;
- Use of sex to regulate emotional states or fulfill intimacy needs;
- Desire for intimacy with victim or co-defendant;
- Wanting revenge or wanting to humiliate;
- Antisocial attitudes or attitudes tolerant of sexual offending;
- Antisocial associates;
- Substance abuse;
- Lack of an adequately supportive social network.