October 14, 2019

Reaction to Inaction

When an employee expresses concern about workplace harassment, be sure to take action.  Look into the matter. Take corrective action if warranted. If not, explain to the employee why not. Perhaps it was a misunderstand or misperception.

Why? Learn from the employer you just paid $150,000 to settle a claim. An employee filed a lawsuit, alleging her employer did nothing for three months to stop reported harassment.

Lessons learned? Don’t do the following:

  1. When the employee first complained, she was bounced around: her boss referred her to his boss, who referred her to his boss.
  2. One of those bosses admitted knowing the employee had a reputation of harassing coworkers.
  3. After the harasser admitted to his conduct, the employer did not change his shift or work location.
  4. It was only after the employee filed a formal complaint with the state agency that the employer transferred the harasser to work in another building.
  5. The court describes the employer’s action of transferring the harasser to another building as, “rather than properly resolving the issue, Defendant’s management has instead shifted [the harasser] around from building to building so that he can sexually harass his next victim.”