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Your Business Should Have a Way for Employees to Report Harassment

West Palm Beach Business Litigation Attorney 2023-01-26 16-49-13

There are a lot of defenses that your company can use when it is accused of harassing an employee at work. But there’s one defense that a lot of businesses don’t think of: Did the aggrieved employee report the abuse and if so did he or she report it through the correct channels?

Why Reporting is Important

Here’s why its so important for employees to report allegations of sexual harassment or abuse: because you, as the company head, or CEO, or owner, can’t know everything that happens in the workplace, all the time. And you have a right to know, when one employee is harassing another employee, so that you can do something about it.

In fact, the law allows employers a defense to harassment claims, in certain kinds of cases, where the employee does not properly report the harassment. And the report doesn’t just have to be made to someone—it has to be made through the channels that you,, as the company designates.

Your Reporting Procedure

Of course, in order for the employee to know who to report harassment to, there needs to be a policy and procedure that is known to all employees. Employees should know how to file a claim, or who or what department to bring a concern to.

Your reporting policy should have two characteristics: it should be relatively easy for the employee to make a claim, and it should always, always be confidential.

Your policies and procedures should also state how the claim will be handled, which is for your own benefit. The last thing you need is to have a valid claim ignored, because there was no procedure to investigate and act on harassment claims.

Why Make it Easy?

This may seem counterintuitive—why make it easier for an employee to make a harassment claim? –but you cannot expect an employee to make a claim through the proper channels, without informing the employee what those channels are.

In other words, by not having or telling employees how to make a claim, you could be “excusing” the employee from the obligation to let you know that there is a problem.

This is especially true when employees harass other employees. You may have some awareness, when a supervisor or vice president is harassing someone. But you may have no idea that one employee is harassing another—no idea, unless the employee makes a report.

And yes–in many cases, an aggrieved employee may forego litigation, if he or she is confident that your company is actively doing something about the problem that was reported.

No Retaliation

When employees make a complaint about harassment, it should go without saying—never ever retaliate against that employee. Remember that retaliation can be subtle; it can be denying someone a perk, a better desk, the opportunity to attend training, or some other benefit, no matter how minor, that other employees are getting.

Call the West Palm Beach business litigation attorneys at Pike & Lustig today for your employment law questions or legal problems.




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