Whether an employer is liable for workplace harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act or state law oftentimes turns on the status of the harasser. If the employee’s supervisor is the harasser, liability for adverse action harassment is automatic.
If, however, the harasser is a fellow employee or a supervisor other than the employee’s, the employee must show that the employer knew or should have known about the harassing behavior and failed to take prompt and effective action to end it.
Because cases often center on who is doing the harassing, employers must clearly identify who actually has hiring, discharge and disciplinary decision-making authority. Accurate job descriptions and job-appropriate titles—as well as clear lines of authority and chains of command—will show whether the alleged harasser supervised the alleged victim.
When the harasser is not a supervisor
Although an employer is strictly liable for h...(register to read more)
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