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Harassment & Discrimination

Out of Bounds Sexual Harassment

Aug 02, 2011

Sexual Harassment in the Headlines 

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:

Brett Favre and the New York Jets 

Two former massage therapists sue NFL Quarterback Brett Favre and the New York Jets alleging he harassed them in 2008:

  • The women claim a culture that was "a hot bed of sexual harassment, sexism and inappropriate behavior."
  • They allege when they refused Favre’s requests for sex, they were told their careers with the Jets were over.

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.

Coal Miner and a Massey Energy Subsidiary 

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:

  • He claims he was subjected to verbal abuse and lewd gestures by coworkers and supervisors because of his sexual orientation.
  • His suit states the behavior continued even after he complained to management.

Key Takeaways

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.

  • Workplace Answers offers harassment prevention training for all levels of your organization. Learn More
  • Our sexual harassment prevention courses are constantly updated for full compliance with Federal and State laws. Learn More

A thorough investigation of the claims may have insulated these employers from further action.

  • Our workplace harassment prevention training can teach employees how to report problems before they become a lawsuit. Learn More
  • Our supervisor training program trains managers how to properly handle a complaint to avoid a lawsuit. Learn More
  • Easy-to-implement training will offer a layer of protection for your organization in the event of a claim. Learn More

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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