Here’s a powerful reminder that when a supervisor is the harasser, prompt action can still save the day—as long as the harassed employee hasn’t yet been demoted, fired or otherwise substantially harmed.
The key is to have a clear reporting process in place, let employees know it’s there and then act fast once a complaint surfaces.
Recent case: Kristin’s employer outlined in its handbook exactly what employees need to do if they are being harassed. Kristin used that procedure to report alleged harassment by her boss. The employer immediately arranged a meeting and investigation and then removed the boss.
Kristin sued anyway. But because no harm had come to her before the employer acted, the court said she didn’t have a case. (Audrey v. Career Institute of Health and Technology, et al., No. 06-CV-5612, ED NY, 2014)
- When employee complains of bias or harassment, beware acting in ways that look like retaliation
- Set up correspondence log tracking all incoming mail, faxes and e-mails
- Don't use weight as an excuse not to hire, no matter the cost
- Some Sundays off doesn't require giving every Sunday off
- Beware: You're now strictly liable for supervisor harassment