The unfortunate truth is that if an employee carries out sexual harassment, the employer may be held liable as well under certain circumstances.
The state of Louisiana has specific laws that mandate all state employees complete at least one hour of sexual harassment training every year. Those state workers that have a managerial position such as supervisors must complete additional training, so they are well aware of the consequences of their actions.
This law holds true and fast for state employees, but what about non-government workers? The law does not specifically require that all workers need to undergo sexual harassment training. However, this does not mean that employees can get away with sexual harassment. There are very strict penalties enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for those employees who carry out sexual harassment, whether they work in a government position or in a regular company. Workplace discrimination and sexual harassment are taken so seriously because these acts are a direct violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 1964 as well as other Acts such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Age Discrimination Employment Act1.
The unfortunate truth is that if an employee carries out sexual harassment, the employer may be held liable as well under certain circumstances. For instance, if it is deemed that the company owners did not take proper measures to prevent the abuse from occurring. They may also be held liable if it is found that they refused to help the victim when they were contacted.
Employers Need to Take Steps to Prevent Sexual Harassment-Based Legal Penalties
Since employers have a lot to lose if sexual harassment occurs on their watch, such as their reputation, their clients, and in turn, their company’s success, they need to make sure they take extra measures to prevent the abuse from occurring in the first place2.
Company owners should make sure they have a very strong sexual harassment policy in place, and that they have created a very efficient complaint process, so all their employees feel free speaking about what they are going through. They must also make sure that if they ever receive a complaint they respond immediately and investigate it thoroughly so there are no misunderstandings and so matters don’t escalate unnecessarily.
Though training is not mandatory for all employers, ensuring that the supervisors are trained in this regard can significantly reduce cases of sexual harassment in the workplace since it is far too common for supervisors to take advantage of those who are working under them.
Anyone who is being harassed in the workplace, or who has a potential sexual harassment claim, should reach out to a sexual harassment attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer will provide them with the legal assistance they need for ensuring their safety and the safety of those around them3.