Several months ago we reviewed “Signs of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.” Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal, and should never be taken lightly. Incidents often create subsequent problems that may affect your employee’s career, well-being or even family. And, as one California hospital just recently discovered, sexual harassment can also jeopardize your organization’s reputation, and can be very costly if not appropriately managed and documented.
As an employer you are responsible for preventing, protecting and defending your employees if you suspect sexual harassment is happening. So, what happened just recently in California?!? AOL News just recently posted an article about a California physician’s assistant awarded $168 million as compensation for the sexual harassment she faced as an employee at a California hospital.
The victim told newspapers that within just two years of being employed at the hospital, she lost count on the number of complaints she filed with HR, but said there were at least 18. And, as a strange twist in the situation, her position ended in 2008 when the company dismissed her on grounds of alleged misconduct.
Our team of HR Experts recognize that when it comes to Human Resource Management dispute resolution, there are always two sides to every story and then there is the truth. In this case, the end results suggest that jurors saw a working environment full of hostility and sexual harassment. How could this have been prevented?
Let’s review some critical tips when managing or suspecting sexual harassment in the work place:
- If you suspect sexual harassment in the workplace, you should document it, regardless of whether the presumed victim reports it themselves. DO NOT ignore the situation.
- Document the situation clearly, including dates, times and descriptions, and then schedule separate and private meetings with both the victim and the person who is acting unacceptably.
- Your organization’s response must be reasonably calculated to end the harassment and prevent it from happening again.
- Your employee has the right to contact an attorney and pursue potential legal action to further remedy the situation, and as an employer you also have the right to terminate someone based on their inappropriate behavior.
- Make sure you have proper documentation of all incidences, and call a reliable source for a second opinion before taking any action.
With HR Shield, you get instant access to all the information, forms and expert advice you need to keep your employees safe. We’ll help you identify exactly which course of action needs to be taken, before it is too late. Contact us today for a consultation.