Sexual harassment that occurs in the workplace is covered by some very specific and clear laws. One of the most important regards what an employer MUST do when any allegations of sexual harassment are reported to management. The Employment Rights attorneys at The Cartwright Law Firm want to offer the following guide for employees who have or may face such harassment at work. The most important thing an employer is required by law to do in the event of reports of sexual harassment is to launch a “timely” investigation into the allegations. Timely means exactly that: such an investigation must begin with a day or a few days of the allegation if it is to be considered by any court to have followed the law governing such matters.
Any such investigation must also be thorough and complete. Merely interviewing the complainant and the alleged perpetrator, and no one else, has been found in prior cases to not meet this standard. Others must also be interviewed, and all prior allegations against the same alleged perpetrator are considered valid inquiries into the immediate investigation.
Additionally, employers must select an unbiased, preferably outside investigator, to avoid the appearance of a white-washed, and therefore challengeable, investigation. Such an investigator must have had the proper and sufficient training that directly deals with workplace investigations.
Employers must also make good-faith efforts to stop the harassment immediately, even if this means they must re-assign the alleged perpetrator to another department or area of the company. But if such a reassignment is untenable, the employer may need to discharge the alleged harasser to prevent the company from engaging in inadequate remediation.
Finally, you as an employee have the right to know the results of any such investigation. If your employer fails to provide this information, they can open themselves up to further legal problems.
Employers should know what is required of them when they receive a sexual harassment complaint. And they should follow the proper procedures in every such case, because if they do not, they will have little defense against any sexual harassment lawsuits. If you have experienced sexual harassment or assault where you work, contact our top-notch employment rights attorneys at The Cartwright Law Firm at 415-433-0444, or call 707-901-3020 in the North Bay and Sacramento Valley counties for a free consultation today.
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Robert E. Cartwright Jr.
Founder and Managing Partner
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