How to Handle a Sexual Harassment Complaint Against Your Company


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The MeToo movement has touched on virtually every aspect of American life, and the business world is no exception. More workers are speaking up about sexual harassment in the workplace. And that means more are taking their complaints to court. If your business is the target of a sexual harassment complaint, you simply cannot afford to wait. You need immediate assistance from business attorneys who know how to defend your organization. You need the legal team at Rosenbaum & Taylor.

Companies are responsible for creating and maintaining a safe working environment for their employees. That means the company could be held liable for the harassing behavior of its managers and workers. Sexual harassment usually comes in two forms:

Quid pro quo. This means an employment favor (such as a promotion) in exchange for a sexual favor. Conditioning any sort of promotion, advancement, raise, or other benefit on anything sexual will constitute quid pro quo sexual harassment. And it doesn’t just have to be a demand for sexual intercourse. It can include a demand to go out on a date or to engage in sexual contact.

These actions are usually proven by establishing something negative that happened because the victim refused sexual advances. For example, the victim was fired, demoted, or his or her pay was cut after turning down a sexual demand. A promotion or other benefit could be considered sexual harassment if it was only given after fulfilling a sexual request.

Hostile work environment. This occurs when an employee is subjected to unwelcome sexual behaviors and conduct in the workplace. Such conduct either interferes with the person’s performance of their work duties or creates an unpleasant, offensive, or intimidating environment. Actions that may create a hostile work environment include:

  • Sexually suggestive or inappropriate jokes
  • Sexual innuendo
  • Offensive comments of a sexual nature
  • The presence of inappropriate sexual materials
  • Sexual gestures
  • Inappropriate emails, texts, social media posts, and phone calls
  • Touching an employee
  • Asking questions about an employee’s sex life
  • Inappropriate references to an employee’s body parts

Those engaging in this conduct may include co-workers, managers, supervisors, customers, and independent contractors. To prove this form of sexual harassment against your company, the victim must show:

  • An employee or job applicant was subjected to conduct like the above (or similar conduct)
  • The conduct occurred because of the victim’s gender or his or her sex
  • The conduct affected a term, privilege, or condition of employment
  • The employer was (or should have been) aware of the conduct
  • The employer took no action, took insufficient action, or made the problem worse

Our team helps employers recognize and prevent quid pro quo and hostile work environment sexual harassment. We can work with you on developing comprehensive policies against sexual harassment in the workplace. This allows the company, among other things, to take effective action against those engaging in such conduct. It can also help the company avoid or minimize liability when these lawsuits arise.

In the event a complaint is made, or a lawsuit is filed, we take swift action. If a complaint has been made without a lawsuit, we work directly with the employer to rectify the issue. On the other hand, if the victim has sued, we help protect the company’s legal rights. We attempt to settle these cases out of court in a way that satisfies all parties involved.

We’re There for Your Company in the Most Challenging Times

A sexual harassment complaint can cost time, money, and reputation. Companies facing these issues have to address them expeditiously, but steps should also be taken to prevent incidents from arising. That’s where the dedicated and experienced business attorneys of Rosenbaum & Taylor come in. We represent employers and businesses when they need it most. Give us a call and find out what we can do for you today.

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