Odessa, TX – While harassment is a serious workplace problem, some employers have proactively taken measures to try to avoid sexual harassment lawsuits and protect their employees. This is becoming an especially important process as many victims feel more comfortable speaking out about inappropriate workplace behavior. From a legal standpoint, there are a number of things that workplaces do to minimize the possibility that they will be liable for damages after a harassment case is filed against them.
Written policies that forbid harassment and related conduct
Most workplaces have put a formal harassment policy into writing. This will allow them to discipline employees and take corrective action when clear violations of these policies are found. Usually human resources or a similar department will investigate these kinds of issues and make findings and disciplinary recommendations. This can help ensure that problems will be addressed and resolved before the behavior rises to the point of being legally actionable.
Protecting against retaliation by superiors
Employers have understood the need to be vigilant regarding mistreatment of workers by superiors. If the supervisor is creating a hostile work environment by their actions or engaging in actions that could change an employee’s work or pay status, these are serious problems that can result in liability. According to general principles of agency, when a supervising employee makes decisions regarding actions such as hiring or firing, they are essentially utilizing the company’s authority, which also makes them responsible for these actions.
Monitoring all employee conduct
There have been harassment cases that dealt with other employees who created a hostile work environment, even if they are not management or supervisors. Many workplaces have started to become more careful about how employees interact with each other, usually by providing specific training related to workplace conduct. There may even be rare cases where companies that expose workers to constant mistreatment by customers can be found to have created a hostile work environment.
Protection from insurance
There are various types of insurance such as employment practices liability that may pay out harassment claims if a plaintiff successfully sues the company. Employers who have a large number of employees and corporate structure may benefit the most from this type of coverage. Many carriers will design a policy that is specific to the company and the types of liability and lawsuits that are most likely to occur in the line of business.
Finding out if a harassment lawsuit is necessary
Anyone who believes that they may have had issues with sexual harassment or other workplace issues can speak with an experienced local firm. Moore and Associates handles various matters related to labor and employment law.
Firm contact info:
440 Louisiana Street, Suite 675, Houston, TX 77002