Employers that quickly respond to employee sexual harassment and hostile environment complaints cut their liability.
Recent case: Kimberly Hoyle made a series of complaints about her co-workers. For example, she didn’t like the swimsuit calendars some workers had in their work spaces. She also complained when she caught a glimpse of a photo in a toolbox of a co-worker’s wife wearing a swimsuit and when she found a photo of a naked woman on a work computer.
The company immediately got rid of the calendars, made sure all employees removed items that were not work-related (such as photos) from their toolboxes and scanned all workplace computers for offensive photos.
Hoyle sued anyway, alleging a sexually hostile environment.
The court tossed out her case, reasoning that the company had acted fast to eliminate the source of her complaints. (Hoyle v. Freightliner, No. 3:07-CV-00169, WD NC, 2009)
- Checklist: throwing an end-of-year party
- Act fast to stop any workplace incident that smacks of racism or racial harassment
- Court: 180-day deadline to file state bias claims is firm
- Fairness, careful documentation are key to discipline process that will stand up in court
- Investigating EEOC complaint? You're protected from retaliation, too