Workers in Florida have certain protections regarding their employment. Both state and federal statutes prohibit discrimination based on someone’s sex. Unaddressed workplace sexual harassment is a type of discrimination that can lead to major losses for an employer.
By failing to protect workers from the misconduct of others, companies may open themselves up to legal and financial liability. Workers who claim to have experienced sexual harassment on the job could file a report publicizing their complaints.
What typically happens when workers speak up about allegations of sexual harassment?
When the report is internal
Most sizable businesses already have sexual harassment policies in place to help mitigate the company’s overall liability. Workers trying to end harassment on the job may follow protocols implemented by the company.
They might file a report with their direct supervisor or a member of the human resources team. At that point, the company is in a position to take action that can prevent future legal challenges. Taking immediate steps to prevent ongoing harassment while conducting an internal investigation is usually the best move after a formal complaint by a worker.
Businesses must be careful to avoid actions that could constitute retaliation, such as transferring the person who complained to a different position or shift. The approach to the investigation process should be neutral, and the company typically needs to document it very carefully to protect against a worker taking additional actions against the company.
When a worker complains to the EEOC
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has a difficult job. The organization must enforce numerous federal workplace laws, including laws about sexual harassment and workplace discrimination.
If a worker brings a complaint to the EEOC about sexual harassment, the organization may investigate the claim. The business typically needs to comply with the investigation process by providing internal records. Details ranging from the company’s reporting policy, which the worker may not have followed, to internal investigation reports could have an impact on how the outcome of the EEOC’s investigation.
Oftentimes, employers bring in legal support when facing an EEOC investigation or even internal complaints to minimize the chances of an unfavorable outcome. Knowing what steps to take when a worker reports sexual harassment can help companies limit the fallout of those allegations.