September 1, 2015

Appeals Court Ruling Emphasizes Prompt Sexual Harassment Investigations Reduce Liability

A Tennessee Court of Appeals’ ruling emphasizes employers can reduce their liability in sexual harassment lawsuits if they conduct a prompt and reasonable investigation into the allegations. In an opinion issued on July 30, 2015, the Court granted a summary judgment in favor of the defendant in a case where an employee brought suit against the company for sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment. 

According to a story in the Mondaq Business Briefing, “the Court commended PFG (the employer) on immediately initiating an investigation and placing restrictions on Pearson’s (alleged harasser) contact with Brazemore (plaintiff), which showed that PFG did not knowingly permit intolerable conditions. Further, the “preventative measures” PFG had in place made the constructive discharge claim weaker. These preventative measures included providing employees with the anti-harassment policy at the beginning of employment, required online training on sexual harassment annually, and the sexual harassment policy’s requirement of employees to immediately inform the employer of any conduct believed to constitute harassment.”

For more information on the details of this case, refer to Mondaq’s piece HERE.

Besides highlighting the importance of taking immediate action on allegations such as this, the case also illustrates the importance for supervisors and HR professionals to be properly trained. Western Growers offers training for our members. Our next training will be held in El Centro/Imperial on October 22, 2015 with additional trainings taking place in Santa Maria and Tulare in 2016. Watch for important announcements and registration information on these workshops in upcoming Spotlight editions.   

For more information on our trainings, contact Adriana Robles at (949) 885-2297.