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Harassment alert! Negligent hiring/supervision law applies

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

Employers that ignore their employees’ sexual harassment pleas—beware. Not only may you be liable under Title VII, but you may be liable under state law, too. And that can mean huge damage awards far beyond federal caps.

Recent case: Michelle Allison and a co-worker at a Marshalls store complained that a fellow store employee commented on their bodies, grabbed them, lifted their shirts and otherwise sexually harassed them. They said management didn’t do anything until a customer also complained that the same employee commented that her bottom looked nice in her jeans. Finally, Marshalls fired the man.

The women sued for sexual harassment and negligent hiring and supervision under North Carolina law. The court said they should get a jury trial, given the store’s apparent refusal to do anything about the harassment. (EEOC et al., v. TJX Companies, No. 7:07-CV-66, ED NC, 2009)

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