Sexual harassment dominates the headlines again, with major suits filed in same and opposite sex harassment cases. Two recent lawsuits stand out from the rest and are sure to bring increased EEOC scrutiny:
Two former massage therapists sue NFL Quarterback Brett Favre and the New York Jets alleging he harassed them in 2008:
The suit follows another Favre scandal involving a reporter. The suit filed by the reporter was investigated only by the NFL and Favre was fined, but no determination was made about the harassment.
The massage therapists claim their lawsuit was filed because they were dissatisfied with the NFL investigation of the reporter’s claims. Learn about online training that helps to prevent "sexting," harassment and 3rd party harassment while reducing your organization's liability in the event of a lawsuit.
In another case, a company vice president is promising a thorough investigation of the allegations filed in a West Virginia lawsuit by a gay coal miner:
What lessons can Human Resource professionals take from these lawsuits to better protect their employees and their organization? In both cases the harassment or bullying was only part of the story. Retaliation against the harassed employees and management's role in addressing the harassment complaints greatly aggravated the situations. Learn more about preventing same sex harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
Adequate training of staff and supervisors might have avoided these issues.
A thorough investigation of the claims may have insulated these employers from further action.
Companies must consider the potential for sexual harassment and be proactive in training staff and management to keep their workplace free of harassment and discrimination.
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