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Beware boss who undermines anti-harassment rules

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Here’s a novel situation: What do you do if you learn that someone is undermining a manager or HR director’s efforts to stop sexual harassment by enforcing company rules? If you ignore the manager’s complaint, she may sue the company for allowing sexual harassment to flourish.

Recent case: Patricia worked in HR. She admonished an employee to stop wearing provocative, unprofessional and revealing clothing in violation of the company dress code.

The vice president of the company refused to approve further discipline when the employee continued flaunting her body.

Patricia sued, alleging that managers tried to keep the atmosphere sexually charged by undermining her efforts to desexualize the workplace.

The court said she had a hostile work environment case. (Werner v. Advance Newhouse, No. 1:13-cv-0125, ED CA, 2013)

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