Only effective anti-harassment efforts will reduce liability potential
Establishing an anti-harassment policy and providing training for your employees is an important step to reducing your liability for harassment claims. But, as one employer recently discovered, having a policy and providing training isnt something you can just check off your to-do list and forget about.
Establishing an anti-harassment policy and providing training for your employees is an important step to reducing your liability for harassment claims. But, as one employer recently discovered, having a policy and providing training isn’t something you can just check off your to-do list and forget about. In response to a hostile work environment lawsuit, the employer tried to defend itself by showing that they instituted measures to prevent harassment. However, upon further inspection, the court found that those measures consisted of showing a harassment video to newly hired employees, with no further training for managers, and having all employees sign off that they’d read the anti-harassment policy. The problem was that employees were not given continued access to the anti-harassment resources. In fact, the anti-harassment policy was actually placed in a locked cabinet that employees could not access. Altogether the court determined that it was reasonable for a jury to conclude that the company’s anti-harassment measures were ineffective and could not reduce their harassment liability (EEOC v. Management Hospitality of Racine, Inc., 7th Cir, Jan. 2012).<!—?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” /?—>
Tips: Effective anti-harassment measures should occur more often than once during the length of employment. All employees should be given access to the company’s anti-harassment policy and receive at least some training about their rights and responsibilities. Managers and supervisors should receive more in-depth periodic training to understand their ongoing obligations in preventing harassment (in California, training is required every two years). See our Model Policy, “Policy Against Harassment” (4004) and ask your Vigilant staff representative about our harassment training classes.
This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.