Lieff Cabraser attorney Kelly M. Dermody notes clients are pleased HSUS is committed to providing healthy and safe environment to fulfill its mission
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is proud to announce the details of a Reconciliation Process, the latest among multiple efforts that are underway to improve the organization for the benefit of all HSUS employees and volunteers. These efforts follow current and former HSUS employees bravely coming forward to call for change at the organization. The Reconciliation Process is being led by noted employee advocate Katherine Kimpel of KK Advising PLLC and was established with input from employment law attorney, Kelly Dermody of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. The Reconciliation Process is in addition to other actions the HSUS Board is taking to improve the organization’s workplace culture, including working with culture experts on culture change, completing a Board governance review and commissioning a pay equity study.
As a part of the Reconciliation Process, Ms. Kimpel is conducting confidential interviews with anyone who may have experienced or witnessed sexual or other kinds of harassment, inappropriate workplace behaviors, a hostile work environment and/or retaliation at the HSUS and wants to share their experiences in a safe setting. These confidential interviews, along with other aspects of her review, will inform Ms. Kimpel’s recommendations on how to improve and strengthen the organization moving forward. Any individual who works or worked with the HSUS and would like to participate in the Reconciliation Process should email HSUSreconciliation@gmail.com no later than Friday, November 9, 2018; Ms. Kimpel will respond with information about the interview process and to arrange a time for the interview.
In addition to conducting interviews with current and former staff members, Ms. Kimpel will review and update HSUS’ policies and investigative procedures surrounding inappropriate workplace behaviors, social media usage and office relationships. Ms. Kimpel will also train employees on the new policies and work with the organization on investigation protocols and internal recordkeeping in accordance with best practices.
The HSUS issued the following statement regarding the Reconciliation Process:
In the wake of consecutive revelations about the misconduct of two senior male executives, the HSUS Board and Senior Leadership realized that we needed to take a long hard look across our organization to understand any weaknesses in our practices and procedures or shortcomings in our culture that allowed this misconduct to occur. We are fully committed to nurturing a safe, supportive and inclusive culture at the HSUS and to using this experience as a catalyst for progress. We designed this Reconciliation Process, in conjunction with Ms. Kimpel and with Ms. Dermody and the women she represents, in order to understand the breadth and depth of any mistakes made in the past and how the HSUS can strengthen its policies and procedures so that it can set the standard moving forward.
“Just as I extend my admiration and thanks to the women who first stepped forward, I want to thank any others who are willing to participate in the Reconciliation Process and to contribute to these efforts to heal and strengthen the Humane Society,” stated Ms. Kimpel. “I am deeply committed to protecting the identities of those who come forward to share their experiences and perspectives. Working together, we can facilitate restorative accountability, healing and growth to improve and strengthen the organization and better position it for the future.”
Ms. Dermody of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, commented, “The women whom I represent spoke up because of their deep commitment to the mission and the organization. We hope that all interested parties will choose to participate in this confidential Reconciliation Process and we have the utmost faith in Ms. Kimpel. My clients want the HSUS to be as effective as possible in its important mission of advocating for all animals. They are pleased that the HSUS is committed to providing the healthy and safe environment that strengthens its ability to fulfill this mission. It is our hope that the HSUS will emerge as a leader in disavowing sexual harassment and those who engage in abusive behavior and demonstrating through actions a respect for women in the animal welfare community.”
About The Human Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is one of the nation’s leading animal protection organizations, providing hands-on care and services to more than 100,000 animals each year. The Humane Society of the United States seeks a humane world for people and animals alike and is focused on driving transformational change in the U.S. and around the world by combating large-scale cruelties such as puppy mills, animal fighting, factory farming, seal slaughter, horse cruelty, captive hunts and the wildlife trade.
About Kelly Dermody
The Chair of Lieff Cabraser’s employment practice group and Managing Partner of Lieff Cabraser’s San Francisco office, Kelly M. Dermody specializes in class and collective actions on behalf of plaintiffs in employment and consumer cases, including gender discrimination cases against Google, Microsoft, Sandia National Labs and Goldman Sachs. Her additional case work includes wage suppression claims against technology, healthcare, and academic institutions; overtime and lost pay lawsuits for low-wage workers, I/T professionals, and foreign nationals working for American corporations; and ERISA claims that she has tried on behalf of employees and retirees for pension plan abuses.