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Include temp workers in anti-harassment policy

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Nearly 70 women who worked as temporary on-site telemarketers at a Chicago car dealership filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court, claiming widespread sexual harassment by the dealership's management. Most of the women were short-term employees, working from two weeks to six months.

The suit charged that several managers routinely demanded sexual favors, sexual dances and sexual gratification in return for job security or greater compensation. The managers also threatened to fire women who complained.

Before the case could get to court, the dealership settled for $300,000, which was probably a smart move.

Reason: While the dealership had given permanent staffers written notice of their right to object to sexual harassment, it never gave temp employees the same information. In fact, temps weren't even shown the firm's discrimination policy. (Isom-McDaniel v. Bob Watson Chevrolet Inc., N.D. Ill., 2002)

Advice: Always include temp and part-time workers when communicating and distributing your written anti-harassment policy. Explain the rights and remedies for workplace harassment. Even though you may contract with a temp agency, your company may be held liable for harassment that occurs at the hands of your managers.

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