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Harassment: Your response makes all the difference

In each case below, employers faced complaints of egregious harassment. One company dropped the ball and paid the price.
The other was able to get the case tossed out of court. Here's what you can learn from their examples:

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Case 1: The 'sex'retary

Lesley Gentry's boss constantly hugged her, kissed her and made suggestive comments, such as asking her to "try out the back counter" with him. He gave her cartoon drawings of sexual positions and asked her to pick her favorites. And her boss' supervisor openly told people that Gentry was a "sex"retary.

Company's response: Twice Gentry told the benefits coordinator that she was uncomfortable with the touching and hugging. But the benefits coordinator told her to develop a thick skin. While the company had a sexual harassment policy, even company officials disagreed on who should be taking complaints.

Result: Gentry sued for sexual harassment and won $25,000 in damages. The company argued that Gentry never used the words "sexual harassment" when complaining about the boss's groping and rude comments. But that argument flopped. (Gentry v. Export Packaging Co., No. 00-2367, 7th Cir., 2001) ...(register to read more)

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