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Enforce policy to prove you don’t tolerate harassment

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Simply having an anti-harassment policy isn’t enough. Employers have to use it when faced with a violation. When you do, make sure you document what you did to remedy the problem.

Recent case: The Harcourt Company provided its anti-harassment policy to employees when they were hired, during orientation and again during regular training. When Ashley Funk found sexually explicit graffiti that included her name, she reported it to HR. The graffiti was removed.

Three months later, she claimed a co-worker slapped her, and Funk retaliated with a push. Funk again complained. Harcourt interviewed witnesses, concluded both employees were at fault and suspended them. Funk sued.

The court said it was clear the policy was effectively enforced since the graffiti was removed fast. It also said the employer’s dual punishment was appropriate. (Funk v. Harcourt Company, No. 08-1841, DC NJ, 2009)

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