Sexual Harassment at workplace
Sexual harassment issues can be a source of great liability for employers. This is one area where an employee leasing can be of great help. In fact, because of the approach taken by employee leasing Services, it can be argued that sexual harassment issues may not be totally avoided unless there is an employee leasing company involved. To understand this point, we must first understand what sexual harassment is and how it is litigated.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances. The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
The victim does not have to be the person harassed but it could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct. It is helpful for the victim to directly inform the harasser that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. The victim should use any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handles all the issues in this regards.
The problem facing most small employers is that an employee dates a co-worker. There is a consensual sexual relationship between the two. But when one employee is terminated, the employee brings a sexual harassment lawsuit because of the existence of the relationship at the time of employment.
One way to combat the problem, as indicated by court rulings, is to have an independent source for the employees to go to when they are being harassed. The legal opinions state that the employee must be provided with the name of a person so she can file a complaint when she/he is harassed. But at a small company, the assignment of such a person is not feasible.
Employee leasing Service can help their clients defends sexual harassment issues successfully, because they designate a person within the Employee Leasing service to be the person to report the sexual harassment issues to. Furthermore, most employee handbooks by employee leasing services specifically state that the employee must report such matters to the designated person. Absence of such reporting, bars an employee from making allegations of sexual harassments later.