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Company itself may be liable when CEO is the harasser

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Here’s a difficult situation for even the most experienced HR pro: What should you do if you believe the head of your company is a harasser? There’s no easy answer, as this case shows.

Recent case: Candace was fired from her job with Omnitech Solutions after complaining that the CEO was sexually harassing her. The CEO happened to be the sole stockholder.

Candace sued, alleging that the company was responsible because other women had complained about sexual harassment by the CEO.

She won $300,000 based on the testimony of the HR staffer who handled sexual harassment complaints. The HR professional testified that she told the CEO that he shouldn’t allow himself to be alone with female employees behind closed doors. He ignored the advice, paving the way for Candace’s award. (Terrell v. OTS, et al., No. 11-13105, 11th Cir., 2012)

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