Workplace harassment is a difficult issue that troubles both employers and workers. For many workers, it can be difficult to separate an individual’s harassing behavior from the company as a whole, while employers face frustrating liabilities if they do not maintain a harassment-free workplace. if you believe that you are experiencing harassment, it is helpful to understand your employer’s liability in the matter.
If you experienced some sort of harassment by a supervisor that culminated in some material professional loss such as losing your job, a reduction in pay or benefits, or losing a promotion, then your employer is probably automatically liable for those actions. An employer is also liable for harassment by colleagues or even non-employees in the work environment if the employer was aware of the harassment and did not take action against it.
However, an employer may possibly avoid liability if it can demonstrate that it took proper actions against the harassment when it was reported and if the victim employee did not cooperate with or take advantage of the employer’s efforts to remedy the situation. So, even if you experienced harassment, if you do not cooperate with your employer when they seek to make it right, you may miss out on fair compensation or make your claim more complicated later on.
Ultimately, it is often best to involve qualified legal counsel sooner than later. It can be difficult to define workplace harassment, and an employer’s response may create a bit of a legal grey area. If you believe that your employer should be liable for harassment you experienced in the workplace, do not hesitate to reach out to a skilled attorney to gain valuable legal counsel and consider the best path forward to justice.