Employers are often held responsible for ensuring that employees are able to work in an environment that is free of sexual harassment. In addition to the fact that managers are not to harass employees, if a worker complains that a co-worker is the perpetrator, it is up to the organization to ensure that the problem is taken care of. Failing to address reports of harassment may lead to legal issues for a business.
As a result, it is important that management has undergone training on what constitutes harassment and how to deal with complaints, official and unofficial. Even if the victim does not want to lodge an official complaint, a company should look into the matter promptly.
When harassment is alleged, an investigation should begin within 24 hours of it being reported. Companies should involve the human resources department if possible, and the person making the accusation as well as the accused and any witnesses should be interviewed. If harassment has been discovered, the perpetrator may need to be terminated, relocated or undergo mandatory training.
When handling sexual harassment claims, it is essential that companies also ensure that those who are making complaints are not retaliated against. Retaliation can take the form of termination, passing up an employee for a promotion or a desirable position as well as failing to give a raise. Employees who have made complaints should not be treated in a manner that is different from their co-workers, and those who are in this position may want to meet with an attorney to see what legal recourse may be available.