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Lesson from Walmart: How to cut risk when a co-worker harasses

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Hiring,Management Training

by David B. Ritter and Mari Kaluza, Esqs.

Here’s some good news for employers that take sexual harassment complaints seriously.

In Sutherland v. Wal-Mart, the 7th Circuit emphasized that an employer’s prompt response to an employee’s complaint of sexual harassment may protect it from liability.   

Indelicate in the deli department

Maria Sutherland and Arturo Aguas both worked in the deli section of a Walmart store. In December 2006, Aguas assaulted Sutherland by grabbing and kissing her and pressing his pelvis against hers. He also touched her inappropriately and gave her a sexually oriented greeting card.

Sutherland told two co-workers what happened and left work early. She reported the assault to her supervisor the next day.

Walmart has a policy that requires an investigation when an employee alleges sexual harassment. Specific steps include first interviewing the complaining employee, then interviewing any witnesses and f...(register to read more)

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