Absolutely!! Harassment and discrimination claims in the workplace should not be taken lightly. The Department of Fair Employment & Housing defines sexual harassment as harassment based on sex or of a sexual nature; gender harassment; and harassment based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
Every company, even companies with one employee, are required to take actions against sexual harassment and to have a sexual harassment policy. The guidelines employers must follow are clearly outlined in the “Facts about Sexual Harassment” DFEH – 185 pamphlet.
At the time a complaint occurs, the employer must: quickly stop the harassment; investigate; properly discipline if harassment is proven; correct the effects of the harassment; put actions into place to ensure harassment does not recur. At no time shall the employee be retaliated against for filing a complaint.
Such harassment and retaliation can be costly to an organization as seen by the $255,000 settlement between Cracker Barrel and the EEOC on April 9, 2009. This was their second investigation by the EEOC. The last case brought against them in 2006 ended with a $2 million consent decree resolving a workplace discrimination lawsuit challenging sexual and racial harassment including retaliation.
A company is responsible for the actions of their employees, supervisors, and non-employees which result in harassment in the work place. A supervisor can be personally held liable. The best defense against such claims is to follow the guidelines outlined by the DFEH, implement a harassment program, and to provide training. Supervisory training is mandated for companies with 50 or more employees.
Help to reduce your liability today by contacting Virtual Outsourcing Solutions at 951.693.4477 to set up your company with a harassment prevention program and training today.