Human Resources:

Sexual Harrassment

A sexual harassment lawsuit can give a company a black eye faster than a punch. What results after a lawsuit can close down a company. About the worst thing that happens, besides the financial burden and the public outcry against the company, is the low morale that begins to take shape among employees. No one feels safe and every action is viewed with scrutiny. The office is never the same after that.

The only way to prevent this is to have strong and irrevocable policies concerning sexual behavior in the workplace. Everyone must be told about these policies and the consequences of their violation at the time of hiring. These consequences should include immediate dismissal and legal action. You must protect your company from any kind of liability that can occur if an employee sexually harasses another. The best way to do that is to hold training year round about teaching all workers equally and with respect. If you as an employer sense that someone is being harassed, take swift action. Don’t wait for them to resolve this amongst themselves. Such actions can make you liable.

Quad pro quo harassment is when an employer or a supervisor in clear terms asks for sexual favors to help an employee climb the corporate ladder or offers them better salary and benefits. Hostile work environment harassment is when an employee feels uncomfortable or unsafe in the workplace because comments of the sexual nature are being made or because of unwelcome advances or unfair treatment. In either case they can go to the equal employment opportunity commission to ask permission for the "right to sue" their company. After they receive permission, they can proceed to file a sexual harassment claim in court, but they have to do this within 90 days.

In recent years, the sexual harassment law, born from the title VII of the civil rights act, has been expanded to hold the employers liable for more than just not stopping the act. As I explained above, you have to actively keep an eye on your staff for any signs of sexual harassment, plus you have to offer them training on it. No longer can an employer blame the employees for their bad behavior. They are becoming more and more responsible for the guilty behavior of their accused employees.