Employers Obligation to Prevent and Investigate Sexual Harassment Cases

Elga Lejarza-Penn

Sexual harassment continues to be a serious problem in today’s workplace, where managers, supervisors and owners are involved. Workplace sexual harassment is defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that explicitly or implicitly affect an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance; or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.” This type of behavior violates the provisions against sex discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Recently a federal court ordered the owners of a sports bar and grill in Hawaii to pay $255,302 to resolve a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the EEOC.

If you would like to learn more about Sexual Harassment Law and Investigation Techniques and earn continuing education credits towards your SHRM or HRCI certification please join me at one of my upcoming 2-Day Sexual Harassment Law and Investigation Techniques Certificate Programs.

If you would like to learn more about our other certificate programs and earn continuing education credits towards your SHRM or HRCI certification please join me at any one of my upcoming Certificate Program Trainings.

If you would like to learn more about our SHRM-CP®, SHRM-SCP®, aPHR™, PHR®, SPHR® Exam Prep Courses and Boot Camps please check out our upcoming Exam Prep Trainings and check out our Student Testimonials and Success Stories.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the company’s owner, managers and patrons subjected female employees to repeated sexual harassment. Such harassment included making lewd comments about employees’ breasts and buttocks, requesting that employees wear cut shirts and shorts to reveal more skin, inappropriately touching female employees and calling them by derogatory names. Multiple employees complained about the harassment, but the company failed to take corrective action. In some instances, the owner retaliated against employees by reducing their work shifts, terminating them, and creating such a hostile work environment that the employees felt they had no choice but to quit. This is considered “Constructive Discharge” and these resignations were not truly voluntary, they are in effect, a termination.

Employers need to ensure that their workforce, especially managers and supervisors receive proper training on what is sexual harassment, examples of sexual harassment and how to prevent sexual harassment. Even though sexual harassment training is not required in a Federal level (only in some states), it is highly recommended to provide sexual harassment training prevention since employers may be held liable for vicarious liability which is when employers are responsible and liable for the actions of their managers and supervisors’ actions.

If you would like to learn more about Sexual Harassment Law and Investigation Techniques and earn continuing education credits towards your SHRM or HRCI certification please join me at one of my upcoming 2-Day Sexual Harassment Law and Investigation Techniques Certificate Programs.

If you would like to learn more about our other certificate programs and earn continuing education credits towards your SHRM or HRCI certification please join me at any one of my upcoming Certificate Program Trainings.

If you would like to learn more about our SHRM-CP®, SHRM-SCP®, aPHR™, PHR®, SPHR® Exam Prep Courses and Boot Camps please check out our upcoming Exam Prep Trainings and check out our Student Testimonials and Success Stories.

Elga Lejarza-Penn, aPHR, PHR, SPHR, SHRM-CP, SHRM-SCP

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