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What Can Happen to Employers Who Ignore Harassment Issues?

— February 24, 2022

Let your employee know that you empathize with their situation, and that you are looking into the matter.

If you’re trying to run a business, it can be tempting to simply ignore certain problems until they go away. For example, you may feel like ignoring a worker who has reported harassment is the best choice. This might seem like an especially logical choice if you know the employee is simply making things up. But what actually happens if you ignore someone who has complained of serious misconduct – such as sexual harassment? You should definitely become aware of the potential legal consequences of such action. 

The best way to respond to a complaint of harassment is to get in touch with Portland sexual harassment lawyers as soon as possible. Ideally, you should consult with your lawyers before you even respond to a claim of sexual harassment. These Oregon sexual harassment lawyers can provide you with excellent legal advice, allowing you to deal with this situation confidently and efficiently. 

You Have a Legal Obligation to Respond to Claims of Sexual Harassment

Once your employee makes you aware of potential sexual harassment in your workplace, you have a legal obligation to take action, investigate the alleged incident, and potentially get help from the EEOC1. Ignoring the problem really isn’t an option. In fact, doing so can give your employee grounds to sue you (and win). In order to win a sexual harassment lawsuit against you, your employee only really needs to show that you didn’t to enough to prevent or correct the issue. Ignoring a report of sexual harassment is a clear example of the latter. 

What Should I Do?

Your best bet is to respond quickly and decisively. Let your employee know that you empathize with their situation, and that you are looking into the matter. You should do this in writing, as this creates a clear written record that you can later use as evidence in court. Provide the employee with a written copy of this statement and keep additional copies for yourself.

The Boy Scouts' so-called "perversion files" are internal records of volunteers blacklisted for suspected child sex abuse.
Image via Pixabay. Public domain.

Note that this doesn’t mean that you need to “take their side.” In fact, it’s best if you maintain an impartial, unbiased mindset when dealing with this report. If other employees have been accused of sexual harassment, you might want to suspend them2. Explain that this is only a precautionary measure, and that they will be reinstated as soon as the investigation concludes that they are not guilty. You can also continue to pay these suspended employees. 

Where Can I Find Sexual Harassment Defense Attorneys Near Me?

If you’ve been searching for sexual harassment lawyers nearby who can help you defend yourself, there are a few options available to you. Choose carefully, as the best lawyers are capable of helping your company avoid financial and legal consequences. In addition, they can help your organization maintain its reputation. Book a consultation today and learn more about your potential defense strategies. 



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