When the U.S. Supreme Court began its new term, one of its first moves was to reject a case that could have created new responsibilities for employers in investigating sexual harassment.
The case: A male sales rep for a Seattle TV station rebuffed the romantic overtures made by his female boss. When word leaked about the incidents, HR approached the sales rep. But he said he'd prefer to handle the matter himself, so the station did nothing except to check back in two weeks to see if he changed his mind.
Soon after, the sales rep quit and filed a sexual harassment suit. The lower courts dismissed his lawsuit, saying that even if he truly had been harassed, the TV station wasn't liable because he never voiced a complaint. No in-house investigation was warranted if the alleged victim said it wasn't needed.
The Supreme Court, in deciding last month not to hear the case, has now agreed with the TV station. The sales rep wanted the Supreme Court to rule that employers are required to investigate any rumblings of sex harassment, even if the employee doesn't want the case pursued. (Hardage v. CBS Broadcasting Inc., 05-1399)
Our advice: If an employee directly voices a complaint, follow it through to the end, even if the employee later gets cold feet. But if you hear about potential harassment through a third party and the alleged victim doesn't want to pursue it, you may not need to go further. Document that person's reluctance, citing his or her direct quotes.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/2058/supreme-court-no-need-to-investigate-silent-victims "
- USERRA: Know your duty to returning disabled reservists
- Conducting a do-it-yourself audit of your company policies
- Failure to investigate alleged harassment brings EEOC lawsuit
- You can limit domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples
- Don't fall into the retaliation trap! Have solid reason for firing complainer