Long-Ago acts can show pattern of ongoing harassment — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Long-Ago acts can show pattern of ongoing harassment

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

Here’s another reason to tell managers and supervisors that any and all sexual harassment must stop: Even if it has been years since an egregious act of sexual harassment, recent subtler incidents can revive the claim.

That’s why it is important to stop harassment in its tracks—and then monitor the situation. You can do that by checking back with the accuser on a regular basis. Find out whether there have been more incidents, and document your conversations. That way, you’ll be able to show exactly when the alleged harassment stopped, laying the trouble to rest once and for all.

Recent case: Monica Avila-Blum worked for a travel agency and soon learned that her administrative job included fetching female co-workers to her boss’s office for sexual activity.

She complained to other managers in the family-owned business, but was told there was nothing they could do.

Then, Avila-Blum claimed that her boss lured her onto a cruise ship for several hours and tried to seduce her. She resisted.

Nothing changed at the office, however. The boss continued his sexual escapades and also regularly put his arms around Avila-Blum and “walked” her down the hall. He also “accidentally” touched her breasts, legs and buttocks, and begged her to wear shorter skirts.

When Avila-Blum eventually lost her job, she sued for harassment. The company said she waited too long to bring up the cruise ship incident, since it happened more than 300 days before she filed an EEOC complaint. But the court said that didn’t matter because the boss’s continued behavior showed that the sexual harassment was ongoing. She’ll be able to tell the jury about the cruise ship incident. (Avila-Blum v. Casa de Cambio Delgado, No. 05-CV-6435, SD NY, 2007)

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