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Take sexual harassment complaints seriously—even if they involve past lovers

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

Some employers wrongly believe that when co-workers end what was a consensual sexual relationship, one employee can’t later claim sexual harassment for post-breakup conduct. The dubious assumption: Any subsequent unpleasant contact between the employees was probably based on jealousy or anger over the broken relationship rather than “on account of sex.” That’s not always true.

Recent case: Inventory control manager Lisa Sclafani had a tumultuous personal relationship with a co-worker. She said the romance ended sometime in 2001, though their interaction at work did not. Sclafani said that over the next five years, her former partner constantly harassed her, calling her names and making numerous derogatory sexual comments. She said she complained to management many times about what she had to endure.

She sued, alleging sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.

In pretrial hearings, Sclafani’s employer urged ...(register to read more)

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