Employers, employees can take steps to combat harassment

Sexual harassment in the workplace has taken a prominent position in the news stories of Tennessee and the rest of the country. Former CEO of the CBS Corporation Les Moonves was denied an exit payment of $120 million after the company determined he had been misleading regarding sexual misconduct allegations. Employers have an obligation to deal with discrimination in the workplace and to ensure employees are provided a safe place to work. In addition, employees should not be afraid to stand up for themselves and assert their rights.

Exposing harassing behavior brings awareness and accountability. It can lead to policy changes in the relevant companies or in the law. When employees and employers are proactive about the situation, sexual harassment can be addressed, punished and reduced.

Workers who believe they have been sexually harassed can be proactive by documenting incidents of discrimination and harassment. Contemporaneous documentation can often be used as evidence during legal proceedings arising from harassment. They should also report the behavior via company channels by, for example, going to human resources or management. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission could possibly help workers as well.

Employers can be proactive about the problem by ensuring that all workers go through sexual harassment training. Online training may not be as beneficial as in-person training, which allows for better discussion. Employers should document discrimination matters and make sure that managers and supervisors have been properly trained to comply with discrimination and sexual harassment mandates.

People in Tennessee who believe they have witnessed or been victims of sexual harassment might want to speak with a lawyer. Legal counsel with experience in employment law could help by conducting depositions, gathering evidence or otherwise building a case for trial. A lawyer could potentially negotiate a money settlement with the employer.

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