Friday, June 29, 2007

Employers in Sexual Harassments Beware

Literally, an employer’s obligation with regard to sexual harassment starts even before the illegal act begins. Employers have an obligation to make sure that their employees are working in a place free from sexual harassment.

There are a lot of things that employers can do to save them selves from being sued for sexual harassment committed by their employees to another employee. First, employers can disseminate general information on facts relating to sexual harassment in the work place. Employers must also be firm and serious in making a statement policy against sexual harassment. Employers must also assure that employees who report sexual harassment incidents do not get ostracized or retaliated against. Furthermore, a grievance machinery or investigation mechanism to address complaints of sexual harassment cases should be well established.

Unfortunately, however careful employers might be in preventing sexual harassment in their work places, they are still not saved from the strict liability theory being imposed by the state of California for the conduct of their supervisors and managers regardless of their best efforts to prevent and to remedy harassment.

In strict liability theory, employers can be liable for sexual harassment on the reason that they should have known of the harassment being committed by their supervisors under the theory of respondent superior. Negligent hiring of employees is also another reason for holding employers liable for the wrongful act committed by their other employees.

In any event, great caution is the order of the day for employers in making sure that their employees together with their supervisors and managers behave respectably towards one another.