Employers need to communicate a sexual harassment reporting policy and have in place effective preventive measures. Workplace contact between employees, co-workers, and their managers can lead to a variety of complaints. Some of these complaints do not rise to the level of violations of law, but an expanding array of conduct in the workplace is falling under the jurisdiction of every increasing state and federal case law.
It is becoming commonplace for a discharged employee to raise a variety of claims as a result of the termination. Some of these claims may not have any merit but they cannot be avoided and a successful defense requires adequate documentation of the employer’s practices and procedures in compliance with state and federal law.
Here is why you need a sexual harassment policy that is clear, properly communicated and effective:
A server at a hotel restaurant filed a complaint for sexual harassment after she was fired. Her complaint was dismissed in a reported EEOC case because the hotel had an effective sexual-harassment reporting policy and the plaintiff unreasonably failed to take advantage of the hotel’s corrective policy.
In another case against jetBlue, the 2nd Circuit Court found that it could be unreasonable if the employee did not take advantage of the company’s preventive measures and the only complaint regarding sexual harassment was made to the alleged harasser and not to other managers.
We recently wrote about the importance of your businesses Employee Handbook. You can review that post here. Your sexual harassment policy and corrective procedures should be in your Employee Handbook and also should be posted with other required labor notices in the workplace in order to provide an appropriate defense, if needed.
Gogel and Gogel has successfully defended Massachusetts businesses in sexual harassment claims arising out of the employment relationship. Contact us if you have a specific matter that requires a defense.
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