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What are the Responsibilities of an Idaho Employer Once a Sexual Harassment Complaint Has Been Made?

— December 6, 2021

Employers should do their best to protect the identities of the victim, other people named in the complaint, and any other sensitive matters.

Boise, ID – All workplaces should take sexual harassment accusations seriously. Claims can result in legal action against the employer, damaged reputations, and they may have to pay victims through a settlement. Because of this potential liability, all companies in Boise should have some kind of procedures in place to receive and review any claims of sexual harassment and always assume that they are legitimate. 

Having a written policy

All employers of a certain size should have some kind of written sexual harassment policy to aid in administration and investigation of claims. Ideally, this policy should detail what the employer will do to respond to a complaint and outline their procedures for handling all matters related to sexual harassment. The policy should also give important definitions about what kinds of behavior equals harassment. 

Starting an investigation

The employer should start to investigate the claim as soon as possible after receiving a complaint from the worker. This may include interviewing relevant people, reviewing surveillance, looking at workplace communications, and seeing if there are any witnesses to illegal conduct. 

Trying to end the problem

If there is a problematic person or people found during the course of the investigation, the employer should take steps to make them aware of the behavior and ensure that it stops. In many cases, the employer and the victim may not need to take any further action if those responsible have been reprimanded and they change their conduct. It will generally not be necessary for the victim to take legal action if the harassment ends after it is reported and investigated, as victims are supposed to exhaust all administrative remedies provided by their employer before proceeding with their own case. 

In some cases, the employer may need to make widespread changes to their workplace if they believe there may be repeat offenses of a similar nature. 

Confidentiality requirements

Image by Pierre Bamin, via
Image by Pierre Bamin, via

Employers should do their best to protect the identities of the victim, other people named in the complaint, and any other sensitive matters. There may be additional legal implications if confidential information is leaked outside of the company. 

Avoiding retaliation

A surprisingly high number of people who report harassment face some kind of punishment from their employer for reporting these behaviors. Disciplining or terminating a worker for asserting any legally protected right is actually illegal and it can result in additional lawsuits against the employer. The employer should also ensure that the victim’s direct supervisors or others with authority over them do not take illegal actions. 

Sexual harassment attorneys are available in Idaho is a directory of lawyers in Idaho and other states who focus on various areas of practice. Anyone who needs legal advice can look up a local professional who matches their needs. 

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