Sjoberg & Tebelius, P.A.
Serving Minnesota & Western Wisconsin

Minnesota Employers: Know How to Handle Sexual Harassment Claims

sad woman.jpgIn recent weeks, stories of sexual harassment against women in the entertainment industry have been widely reported. However, sexual harassment is an issue facing every worker in every industry (as evidenced by the overwhelming number of #MeToo social media postings). It has always been crucial for employers to understand their obligations and options with regard to responding to complaints of sexual harassment; now is a good time to take another look.

How you as an employer respond (or fail to respond) in these situations can dramatically impact the continuance or mitigation of sexual harassment both at work and in society, as well as impact whether your company will face lawsuits and civil penalties. Therefore, it behooves you to know what to do when it comes to sexual harassment claims in the workplace.

Clearly state your policies in your handbook

One effective way to protect your workers from sexual harassment (as well as yourself from legal claims) is to clearly define anti-harassment policies in your employee handbook. Include types of misconduct that will not be tolerated as well as instructions for how an employee should report harassment, and to whom. 

Investigate every claim

Failing to properly investigate a claim of sexual harassment can spark a lawsuit. Employers should, therefore, investigate every claim earnestly. Utilize a trained investigator who can be objective, and be prepared to interview the employee as well as the alleged harasser and any witnesses. 

Do not retaliate

It is illegal to retaliate against an employee who files a sexual harassment complaint. With this in mind, employers should not relocate, reduce hours, change shifts, or otherwise penalize the complaining employee. However, if necessary, action can--and often should--be taken against the alleged harasser to remove that person from easy access to the complainant. Limiting the amount of contact the two parties might otherwise have is a good first step until the investigation is complete. 

Take appropriate action

After examining the complaint, make a reasonable and fair decision about the course of action the situation demands. Take into consideration the nature of the harassment as well as any consequences issued in similar situations in the past. If you cannot reach a firm conclusion one way or the other, then explain the inconclusive findings to the employees involved.

Keep records

Keeping track of emails, witness statements, and other documentation related to what you (the employer) knew and when you knew it can all be critical to protecting yourself should the complainant or the harasser decide to pursue a lawsuit against the company.

Talk to an attorney

It is important to understand your responsibilities as an employer with regard to federal and state harassment laws. Working with an attorney can help you make informed decisions, avoid costly legal battles and protect your workers from misconduct.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Client Testimonials

Client Testimonials

  1. “Thank you for providing personalized professional services to us during a time of grief and loss when family relationships were not the best. With an attorney on board to help manage legal matters, everyone had confidence that the best was being done. ”

    Read More…
  2. “Our estate plan was handled well. We never felt rushed and all details were fully explained. Sam is very professional, easy to talk to and experienced in all aspects of estate planning. He gave examples and explored alternatives for us to consider. Well done and thanks.”

    Read More…
  3. “I was given the name of the law firm by a family friend after helplessly pilfering through endless names on websites. I am grateful I called. I was connected with Dave Meier immediately and from the go, was treated with dignity, care and respect. Every visit to the firm was pleasant and professional. ”

    Read More…
  4. “We were highly impressed upon the level and capability of Sjoberg & Tebelius. They gently showed us that there was much more to achieving the Will in the correct format that will protect our children than the quick attempts we had made on our own. Great people to work with - achieving our desired results!”

    Read More…

Over 30-years of experience Serving Minnesota & Western Wisconsin

Sjoberg & Tebelius, P.A.

2145 Woodlane Drive
Suite 101
Woodbury, MN 55125

Toll Free: 888-892-7044
Phone: 651-315-8856
Fax: 651-738-0020
Map & Directions