In employment discrimination cases, an employee must prove that the employer treated the employee unfairly and that the reason for this unfair treatment was a protected characteristic of the employee, such as the employee’s race, age, religion, gender, or disability. If the employer fired the employee, refused the employee a promotion, or wrote a negative performance review unsupported by evidence, it is easy to document this; in cases like these, the only challenge is to prove that the employer’s motivation was based on race, gender, or other protected characteristic. Harassment, also known as a hostile work environment, is an adverse action that falls under the category of employment discrimination. When it comes to gender-based harassment, most employers and employees know more about the stereotypes they see in the media than about what the laws actually say. To find out more about sexual harassment in the workplace and how to prevent it, contact a hostile work environment sexual harassment lawyer.
Why Should Employers Care About Sexual Harassment?
The most important reason to care about sexual harassment is that everyone has the right to be treated with respect at work. Besides, it is in the best financial interests of employers to have a workplace where no harassment takes place. Employees who are being harassed and bullied at work are less productive, and workplaces, where harassment is rampant, have high turnover. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep recruiting and training new employees because the previous ones quit.
Finally, sexual harassment lawsuits are expensive, even if they settle without going to trial. Employers can buy employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) or directors and officers (D&O) insurance to protect them from lawsuit-related financial losses. It is less expensive, though, to stop sexual harassment before it starts.
Preventing Sexual Harassment
Employers can prevent the worst consequences of sexual harassment by making it easy for employees to report incidents of harassment, whether the employee doing the reporting was a target of the harassment or a bystander. For example, set up an anonymous phone helpline, an online contact form, or both.
Finally, you should have employees complete an online training session about sexual harassment each year. It should give a variety of examples of scenarios that count as sexual harassment so that employees will know not to do these things at work and will know that they have the right to complain if they witness these actions. A surprisingly large number of people hold misconceptions about sexual harassment. They might not know that it does not have to include physical touching or verbal threats, for example, and they might not know that women are not the only people who can be targets of sexual harassment. Likewise, case law on sexual harassment changes frequently, so your employees’ knowledge might not be up to date.
Contact an Employment Lawyer About Your Sexual Harassment Case
A sexual harassment lawyer can help you report sexual harassment that you have witnessed in your workplace. Contact McOmber McOmber & Luber in Red Bank, New Jersey to discuss your case.