As an employer, correctly dealing with an employee’s claim of harassment can seem like you are navigating a potential mine field. Even if you have solid, written policies in place regarding how these types of claims will be handled, and even if you follow through and terminate a problem employee, you still need to remain diligent.
Harassment may not stop with the termination of the employee actually doing the harassment. There have been several instances where other employees have taken it upon themselves to create a hostile work environment for the individual who reported the harassment. Several recent court-rulings have affirmed that you, as an employer, have a responsibility to ensure that retaliatory acts against an employee for filing a harassment claim do not occur.
That means reviewing and updating your anti-harassment policy to ensure that retaliatory acts are grounds for termination. Additional safeguards you could take include conducting periodic employee and management training; and, when specific complaints are filed, remaining alert to possible retaliatory harassment. If you fail to do so, you may find yourself as party to a sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit under Title VII.
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