Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Correction

Once an investigation reveals that sexual harassment in the workplace has occurred, the next step is correction. Employers must take corrective measures so harassment stops and does not reoccur. This is also the next step for any type of workplace discrimination that is discovered.

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By following EEOC guidelines  for correction, employers can ensure the steps they take are effective.

What Correction for Harassment Is Suggested by the EEOC?

Disciplining the harasser is one form of correction and the correction should correspond to the severity of the harassment. Management should inform the complainant and harasser of the measures it will take to correct harassment. Employers walk a fine line because if they are too lenient and harassment reoccurs, then they could be found liable. On the other hand, if the discipline is too harsh, then they may be subject to claims of wrongful discharge.

If the harassment was a minor action and the harasser had no prior history of misconduct, then oral reprimand may be sufficient. In contrast, if the harassment was severe or persists, then job suspension or termination may be appropriate.

The employee who filed the complaint should not be adversely affected by the discipline. For example, deciding to separate the harasser and complainant by reassigning the complainant to a job or location that the complainant does not desire would be unfair and would penalize the complainant instead of the harasser.

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What Are Some Examples of Correction Employers Can Take?

  • In dealing with the harasser, an employer could take actions, such as:
  • Oral or written warning or reprimand
  • Transfer or reassignment
  • Demotion
  • Wage reduction
  • Suspension
  • Discharge
  • Required training or counseling to ensure the harasser understands the violations
  • Monitoring of the harasser to ensure the harassment ends

What Are Some Examples of How to Correct the Effects Harassment Had on the Complainant?

Employers can ameliorate the effects on complainants by:

  • Restoring a leave taken because of the harassment
  • Eliminating negative evaluations in the complainant’s personnel file that resulted from harassment
  • Reinstatement
  • Having the harasser apologize
  • Monitoring the employee’s treatment to ensure no further harassment
  • Compensate the employee for losses

Get Legal Help to Deal with Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

It is wise for employers to seek legal advice immediately when dealing with sexual harassment or other discrimination issues. Stephen Hans & Associates offers seasoned legal guidance to assist employers with harassment issues.

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