Wednesday, June 26, 2024

This is why you train your management on how to respond to workplace harassment

During Joyce Morgan's employment at Convenient Food Mar, her co-worker, Todd Wise, subjected her to sustained and prolonged sexual harassment. Morgan complained to both her shift leader and the store manager. When they did nothing, she then complained to the store manager's supervisor. Despite her repeated complaints about Wise and the harassment to which he subjected her and others, no one at the company ever did anything. She ultimately resigned and sued.

Following a jury trial and a verdict in her favor, Morgan won a $221,688.56, which included compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys' fees.

According to the appellate opinion affirming the judgment, this fact was central to the jury's verdict: "Management failed to train their employees on how to investigate claims of workplace harassment and discrimination allowing Todd Wise's behavior to be tolerated at the expense of a woman such as Ms. Morgan."

It is imperative in every workplace that each manager and supervisor knows what to do when an employee complains of harassment, or they otherwise become aware of it. Allegations must be fully investigated and, if necessary, corrective action must be taken reasonably to stop the harassment from reoccurring. If you are not comfortable with a manager or supervisor running an investigation, then at a minimum you must trained them to run the issue up the chain of command to someone who is.

The one thing they ABOLUSTELY CANNOT do is IGNORE THE HARASSMENT. That's a recipe for an expensive and dangerous lawsuit. Just ask Convenient Food Mart.