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Involve attorney when honcho is alleged harasser

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Here’s a tricky situation that requires courage: An employee complains that a senior executive may be sexually harassing a subordinate. The best approach may be to contact your employer’s attorney for advice.

Recent case: Sheryl was hired as a librarian by Lake City. Soon, she complained to her immediate supervisor that the mayor—who supervised some of her work—was sexually har­­assing her by making advances. The city had a robust sexual harassment policy in the handbook, but Sheryl got no action on her complaint.

After she was terminated, Sheryl sued, alleging sexual harassment.

The court said she could take the case to trial based in part on the contemporaneous accounts she noted in her diary describing her reaction to the alleged advances and HR’s lack of action. (Mooers v. City of Lake City, No. A13-2197, Court of Appeals of Minnesota, 2014)

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