Don’t think that because your organization doesn’t have direct control over some workers, you’re not their “employer” under federal law.
Simply put, you’re probably the employer if you assign projects, control the means by which assignments are completed, specify the skills required, control how the work is done and hire and decide how much to pay the worker.
Recent case: Barbara Snyder lost her job as a jailer after what she claims were false abuse allegations made against her. She said they were in retaliation for a sexual harassment complaint she had made.
She sued her immediate boss, who headed the Belmont Sheriff’s Department, and also the county commissioners, who oversee the sheriff’s department.
A court said she could sue both, since each appeared to be her employer. (Snyder v. Belmont Sheriff’s Department, et al., No. 2:08-CV-111, SD OH, 2009)
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- Investigate or else! When harassment surfaces, HR inquiries and action could be worth millions