• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

The Penn State case: Would you or your managers have called police?

by on
in HR Soapbox

By now you’ve heard of this week's scandal involving a former Penn State football coach and the university’s decade-long cover-up of his alleged molestation of young boys. Penn State officials learned about the coach’s alleged abuse of a 10-year-old boy in the team’s locker room, yet decided to deal with the issue internally, not contact the police.

The state’s attorney general criticized school leaders, citing “the lack of action and apparent lack of concern among officials … who either avoided asking difficult questions or chose to look the other way.”

The scandal this week led to the firing of legendary head coach Joe Paterno, the dismissal of the university's president and the likely exits of many more university leaders. 

One HR lesson is obvious: Employers can never ignore reports of misconduct or harassment by employees against anyone—co-workers, clients or anyone on the premises.

"It is not a defense for you to bury your organizational head in the sand and hope that it will all be gone when you emerge into the sunlight,” says attorney Jon Hyman, a partner with Kohrman Jackson & Krantz in Cleveland and the editor of the HR Specialist's Ohio Employment Law newsletter.

But at what point does harassment cross the line into something more serious (like assault) that requires an employer to call to the police? When should you—or must you—make that call?

“’Should’ is a broader answer than ‘must,’” says Hyman. “When children are involved, as in the Penn State story, moral obligations far outweigh legal obligations. Employees should put themselves in the shoes of victim’s family.”

Hyman added, “The answer to when HR ‘must’ blow the whistle will be guided by state law and, in some specific instances like financial irregularities, by federal law.”

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/28795/the-penn-state-case-would-you-or-your-managers-have-called-police "

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

VINTAGEDWHINE November 17, 2011 at 7:27 pm



Leave a Comment