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Don’t be swayed by the top 9 excuses for harassment

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

When managers witness or hear about a possible sexual harassment situation at work, it’s important for them to take the situation seriously. Harassment lawsuits can spiral into multimillion-dollar lawsuits if not dealt with immediately … and employees’ personal bank accounts are at risk, too (see box below).

That’s why it’s vital for managers to contact the appropriate company officials in any potential harassment situations. Don’t be swayed by these common excuses you’ll hear from employees:

1. “I didn’t mean it.” It’s not enough for an employee to claim that he or she didn’t intend to be offensive.

Sometimes, the effect of the behavior outweighs the intent of the harasser. Even if the employee didn’t intend to harass, if the target objectively and subjectively felt harassed, the employer could be held liable.

2. “I was just kidding.” Humor, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Again, the effect may outweigh intent.

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