The liabilities of a sexual harassment suit are not just limited to big business. Employers of 15-100 employees can be liable for up to $50,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, and management personnel can also be sued personally for sexual harassment violations.
Here are the facts:
Employers with 15 or more employees are covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1991, Congress amended Title VII to permit victims of sexual harassment to recover damages, including punitive damages, under federal law. In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court broadened the reach of this law by making it easier to prove injury.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) expects to double its cases of sexual harassment over the previous year. When investigating allegations of sexual harassment, the EEOC looks at the entire set of circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A determination on the allegations is made from the facts on a case-by-case basis. There is a clear and present danger to businesses who are not aware of the sexual harassment law and have yet to put policies and practices in place to avoid expensive litigation. Having a system in place to ensure proper employee education, and implementing procedures in regards to complaints can help avoid costly lawsuits.
I’m in the military and although we don’t have lawsuits, we do have punishments and regulations that we enforce very strictly. I’ve seen guys with 15-20 years in get forced retirement because of sexual harrasment cases, and I’ve seen up and coming soldiers watch their career come to a crashing halt because of the same thing. It’s no joke.
Thanks for the insights though…good article!
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Michael W. Johnson says
Yes, it is mandatory to provide sexual harassment training to employees is not just limited to big business but also for small firms with 15 or more employees in order to avoid costly lawsuits. The information provided here is very helpful.