Employees shouldn’t have to endure sexual harassment, whether it comes from another employee or someone outside the company.
Recent case: Shelly Morita worked as a personal assistant for film producer Jon Peters. While filming a movie in Australia, an Australian company handled the details, including pay and benefits. Morita quit after Peters allegedly grabbed her buttocks and breasts.
She sued for harassment. The company said it wasn’t Peters’ employer and therefore not liable.
The court said the company was the employer and potentially responsible for harassment by someone Morita was forced to work with. But in this case, it escaped responsibility because Morita never complained and never gave the company a chance to fix the problem. (Morita v. Outback, No. B219559, Court of Appeal of California, 2nd Appellate District, 2011)
- Have a progressive discipline system? Beware giving more leeway to younger employees
- What an investigation should seek to find
- Watch out for retaliation—even if employee never made formal discrimination complaint
- Keep records from unemployment comp case --you might need them later if employee sues
- Always investigate harassment before firing