In the groundbreaking instance, the Supreme Court recognized that sexual harassment that is sufficiently serious as to alter an individual's terms and conditions of employment is a breach of federal legislation and breaches Title VII for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Supreme Court rulings in two split situations in 1998 placed a strong emphasis on the necessity for education and trained in the workplace.
The Supreme Court established that so that you can reduce obligation for harassment claims, a company must:
- train both workers and supervisors
- oblige employees to report any incidents of harassment
- very carefully investigate each report
- implement corrective measures whenever necessary
The court also distinguished between supervisor harassment that results in concrete employment action (TEA) such as release, failure to promote or demotion, and supervisor harassment that does not. If the result is TEA, the manager is definitely liable. If not, the company may defend itself providing it may prove:
1) The company exercised reasonable care to stop and quickly correct any sexual harassing behavior.
2) The plaintiff unreasonably didn't make the most of any preventative or opportunities that are corrective by the company to prevent harm.
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Tip number 2: Evenhandedly enforce your policy, without exclusion.
If you determine that your policy is violated, enforce that policy -- no matter what the offender's place within the organization! [Easier said than done? Maybe. But consider the legal and employee relations consequences of doing otherwise.]
Suggestion #3: Implement user-friendly harassment/discrimination internal issue and investigation procedures.
Provide multiple options for registering complaints -- written, hot-line, in-person (e.g., supervisor, senior manager, HR) -- including a minumum of one feminine and with the maximum amount of diversity as you are able to
Designate (and train) male/female groups for problem investigation
Tip number 4: Communicate the policy and procedures.
Written down -- worker handbook, bulletin boards, e-mail, memos, company's site
Verbally -- brand new hire orientation, department meetings, one-on-one
Reinforce periodically with in-person statements by senior management and supervisors that are immediate
Tip 6: Train all workers:
The essence and scope of relevant rules along with your policy
How exactly to avoid all kinds of discrimination and harassment
Just how to react (including complaint procedure) to harassment/discrimination