Anti-Harassment and Sensitivity Training

Anti-Harassment and Sensitivity Training

This firm provides group and individualized anti-harassment and sensitivity training. The United States Supreme Court has made it clear that for employers to have a viable defense to a discrimination or harassment lawsuit, they must provide yearly training to management and nonmanagement employees regarding antidiscrimination policies and complaint procedures.  Additionally, management and human resources should be trained and updated periodically on the proper handling of complaints.  All companies should annually assess when their employees were last trained on such matters.

Common question:

Q. Our company just received an EEOC charge claiming that a supervisor sexually harassed a former employee.  This is our first notice of any possible sexual harassment.  Since the employee is no longer with us and an EEOC charge already has been filed, do we still need to investigate?

Yes, if you want to minimize the company’s exposure.  The EEOC and some courts have reasoned that the EEOC charge is a “complaint” that triggers the company’s duty to investigate under the anti-discrimination laws.  Moreover, the company should contact the former employee in writing asking for her assistance in the investigation. Even if the employee does not cooperate, other witnesses and the alleged harasser should be interviewed.  Also, before claiming “no knowledge” of the problem, be certain that the former employee did not complain about the harassment to any supervisor or manager.  If such a complaint was made to management, even if outside the usual chain of command, it may be considered constructive notice to the company of the complaint.  Such notice generally triggers a duty to investigate.