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- Employer Liability for Hostile Environment Harassment
Whether the employer is liable for the existence of a hostile work environment is entirely dependent on who created the environment. When a hostile work environment is created by an immediate supervisor, the employer is strictly liable. However, the company can try to demonstrate that it took reasonable steps to prevent or correct the harassing actions and that the worker did not use grievance systems or other remedies provided by the employer. These two factors are part of a test created by the Supreme Court to be used by employers defending themselves in sexual harassment cases.
When a co-worker, other supervisor or customer creates a hostile work environment, the employer may be liable. If the employer knew or should have known that the harassing behavior was taking place and failed to take appropriate measures on their knowledge or employee grievances, they can be held liable for the sexual harassment.
Employer liability for hostile work environment harassment is unclear and complex. Courts handling sexual harassment cases continue to expand employer liability for hostile work environment harassment with each case. Because of the complex nature of hostile work environment cases, employees who experience sexual harassment at work should contact a sexual harassment attorney as soon as possible. A skilled sexual harassment lawyer can examine your case to determine if your employer is liable. For a free legal consultation with a sexual harassment attorney, fill out our case review form. You will receive a quick response regarding your eligibility for a sexual harassment lawsuit.
A hostile work environment exists when unwelcome harassing behavior interferes with the employee’s job performance or creates an offensive work environment. Examples of inappropriate and sexually suggestive behavior can include unwanted and inappropriate touching, sending sexually suggestive e-mails, displaying pornographic posters and making unwanted and offensive comments. To find out if the sexual harassment you are experiencing constitutes a hostile work environment, fill out the free case review form on the right.