When is an employer liable for harassment?

When is an employer liable for harassment?

| Dec 2, 2019 | Firm News |

Due to the fact that employers in a California workplace usually oversee all activity of those they employ, they can be held liable for the harassment done by supervisors, non-employees, and even customers. However, there are certain limitations to their culpability that are important to understand. 

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission takes a look at harassment in the workplace, especially harassment that is committed by supervisors or non-workers toward employees. An employer can be held liable for any harassment if it results in an employee’s status being negatively impacted. Examples may include if the harassment results in the termination or wage loss of an employee, or if they are failed to be promoted or hired due to the harassment. The only exception is if the employer tried to prevent or correct the harassing behavior within reasonable standards, and the individual(s) in question then failed to take advantage of any corrective or preventative opportunities that were offered. 

Likewise, employers are responsible for a number of people under their control such as customers in the store or independent contractors. They can also be held liable for the actions of these non-workers. However, they must have either known about the harassment, or should have reasonably been aware of it. They also should have failed to take any prompt and appropriate reaction to deal with the harassment if they knew about it. 

Determining whether an employer can or cannot be held liable for the harassment of their staff is determined on a case by case basis. However, it is important to know they can be held accountable in the first place, even if restrictions apply.