Prompt corrective action limits harassment liability

When employees complain about a sexually hostile environment, it pays to remedy the situation … fast. That’s true even if you don’t believe the actions would amount to illegal harassment. Courts will reward you for a quick and effective response.

Recent case: A group of crisis-center employees complained to management about explicit sexual banter between two female employees who were involved in a love affair. The crisis center, which had a solid sexual harassment policy, immediately investigated the complaints and sent the pair straight to sexual harassment training.

The lovers stopped, but the group sued anyway. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out the case, saying management fixed the problem right away. (Baugham, et al., v. Battered Women, Inc., et al., No. 05-6051, 6th Cir., 2006)