This week Deidre and JG talk about sexual harassment in the workplace with an expert guest.
Sexual harassment happens everywhere, but in the workplace both employees and employers are open to the consequences. Our guest this week is Paul Millus who is an esteemed member of the law firm Meyer, Suozzi, English and Klein in the Litigation and Employment Law Departments. Paul is rated “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell which is the highest level of professional excellence, ethics, skill and integrity in the practice of law. More information about Paul and his firm can be found at www.msek.com.
PAUL’S WIZDOMS FOR EMPLOYEES
- Not every petty slight in the workplace is the basis for a sex discrimination claim. However, when a fellow employee or a supervisor make unwanted verbal comments of a sexual nature or touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, the possibility that you are being discriminated against exists.
- At no time, should any promise regarding pay, promotion, or benefits, or any threat to withhold those things, be accompanied by a request to enter into a relationship or imply that sex is related to such threats or promises.
- If you have been subject to sex discrimination, refer to your Employee Handbook and follow the procedure to report such an incident. Not coming forward with a complaint will only make it more difficult to prove.
- Cooperate with the investigation giving the employer an opportunity to address the problem.
- Don’t forget that the law protects you.
PAUL’S WIZDOMS FOR EMPLOYERS
- The same rule applies, not every petty slight in the workplace constitutes discrimination.
- Your employees and supervisors should have formal sexual harassment training and be able to recognize evidence of discrimination.
- Your HR Department should be fully prepared to investigate any claim of sex discrimination in accordance with the Company’s stated policy.
- While an investigation is ongoing, DO NOT take any action effecting the employee’s work conditions such as pay, benefits, and/or leave policy to avoid a viable retaliation claim UNLESS you have documented proof that an employee violated an office rule or regulation because a discrimination claim does not give employees a pass to act inappropriately in the workplace.
- Perform the investigation in a full and fair manner.
- If the investigation demonstrates to the employer’s satisfaction that there was actual discrimination, the employer should take action. That action should not include simply transferring the complainant unless he/she has requested such a transfer as part of the resolution.
- Ensure that all employees and supervisors receive workplace discrimination training – without such training the employer is opened up to claims that it does not take discrimination in the workplace seriously.
Listeners, have you ever experienced or witnessed sexual harassment in the workplace? How was it handled? Let us know by leaving us a voicemail at 1-646-653-9278 or sending us a message here.