Des Moines, IA– Unless an Iowa employer has faced litigation in the past, they may not think twice about having a sexual harassment policy or what that policy is, but not doing so carries a great deal of risk and that employer could be hit with a civil suit. It may seem trivial, but could come back to bite later on. Take for instance a production company best known for “Ink Master.”
Original Media, the company responsible for popular tattoo contest show on Spike TV is once again in the middle of a federal sexual harassment suit. This time the Writers Guild of America East alleges the company failed to disclose their sexual harassment policies, Variety reports.
On the surface, not outlining a sexual harassment policy to employees may seem like a minor oversight, but it’s not, as the case against Original Media shows. When an employer with more than 15 workers fails to create a sexual harassment policy and fails to inform them of said policies, they risk violating federal law, which clearly states they must haves such policies in place. Basically the law sees the absence of a clear discrimination and harassment policy as denying an employee the means to redress incidents of discrimination and sexual harassment. In the face of workplace abuses, an employee may not know who has the power to stop their abuse and reprimand the abuser. A policy can only become common knowledge when employees are informed of the policy.
But WAGE alleges Original Media didn’t have such a policy and when asked failed to produce evidence that it existed, so they filed a federal lawsuit. But the allegations don’t end with non-existent policies, the lawsuit also accuses the production company of failing to pay production assistants overtime and refusing to negotiate with writer’s union in good faith, Variety reports.
The industry magazine contacted Original Media for a statement but they had no comment.
This isn’t the first sexual harassment lawsuit pending against Original Media. Last year, a former production assistant filed a federal sexual harassment suit against the company with help from WAGE.
In her lawsuit, Nicolletta Robinson, 25, alleged that Oliver Peck and Chris Nunez, two tattoo artists/judges for the show, made degrading and sexually-charged comments directed at her while she worked on the show for a brief stint in 2013. She also alleged the two men made sexual advances and groped her.
The lawsuit, which named Original Media, Spike TV, Viacom, Peck and Nunez, contained a list of highly inappropriate and extremely lewd things Nunez and Peck allegedly did and said. When she told her supervisors about the two men’s behavior, they did nothing to stop it –as is common– and fired her instead– also common. Robinson’s suit also alleges Original Media did not a have a policy sexual harassment policy in place.
Just developing and enacting a sexual harassment policy is not enough, an employer must also hold sexual harassment training and instruct employees on how to report sexual harassment. These policies are important and protect a company from liability in case one of their employees is sexually harassed or otherwise subjected to a hostile work environment.
If you are an Iowa employer and need help with your sexual harassment policy or you are a victim of sexual harassment, USAttorneys has a team of employment law attorneys to meet whatever need you may have. We can help you find a diligent and assertive sexual harassment attorney near your Iowa location who will work to get you maximum compensation for what you have endured.