Andrew Gordon Discusses in SHRM Recent EEOC Settlement of Sexual Harassment Lawsuit with Gas Station Chain
Hinshaw partner Andrew Gordon was recently quoted in a SHRM Magazine article reporting on the settlement of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the EEOC against a gas station chain. The EEOC had alleged the company ignored frequent complaints from multiple female employees and customers about ongoing sexual harassment by a male employee. In addition to monetary compensation, the settlement requires the company to revise its policies and procedures to prevent sexual harassment; train managers on documenting and investigating sexual-harassment complaints; and train employees on their right to work in an environment free from sexual harassment.
Gordon discussed the obligation of employers to address instances of sexual harassment "promptly." He noted that courts have differed on how much time to take action is appropriate. Generally, however, the sooner an employer can intervene to put an end to alleged sexual harassment, the better. "The longer an employer waits, the more likely that delay will be seen as unreasonable and create a presumption that the employer did not take the allegations as seriously as they should have," said Gordon. "That delay, and the associated presumption of a lack of caring, will haunt the employer in any sexual harassment claim brought by [an] employee."
Gordon also discussed the role that anti-harassment training and reminding employees about the organization's sexual-harassment policy can have in preventing misconduct. "[I]t is imperative for employers to create an environment where employees know how to report this type of behavior and know that their employer will take any such reports seriously," he said. "The best thing an employer can do to show they did everything they could to prevent harassment from occurring is to create an environment where employees know their employer has their backs and best interests at heart."
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"Gas Station Chain Settles Sexual-Harassment Lawsuit" was published by SHRM Magazine on February 15, 2023.