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Elizabeth A. Semler
503.243.1661 x 264

Employment eAlert: Employers: Is It Time For Harassment Training?

April 2012

Elizabeth A. Semler
503.243.1661 x 264
The Supreme Court has made it clear that when a supervisor's harassment of a subordinate does not result in a tangible employment action, or when the harassment is committed by an employee's co-workers or outside third parties (such as customers or vendors), the employer may be able to avoid liability by showing that it took reasonable care to prevent and correct harassment. The employer must also prove that the employee unreasonably failed to avoid the harm, for example, by failing to complain.

According to the EEOC, "reasonable care" to prevent harassment may include training of supervisors and managers so they understand: the types of conduct that violate the employer's anti-harassment policy, the seriousness of the policy, the responsibilities of supervisors and managers when they learn of alleged harassment, and the employer's prohibition against retaliation. "Reasonable care" to correct harassment includes: having a complaint procedure in place, following the procedure upon receipt of a complaint, undertaking an unbiased investigation of the complaint, and imposing appropriate discipline if a complaint is substantiated by the investigation.

Sussman Shank LLP provides on-site harassment training to employers, tailored to their industry and specific workplace needs. We also provide assistance with, and perform, on-site harassment investigations.

If you would like more information about harassment training or investigation, or have questions about any employment law issues, please feel free to contact us.

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