Electronic harassment becoming more prevalent, survey shows

Posted by Charles Middleton on 05/11/2018

Q: The Employment Law Alliance recently published sexual harassment in the workplace survey results from employment attorneys throughout the country. The biggest takeaway is that the #MeToo movement has been a wake-up call to employers and is not a fad. How should employers be thinking about the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace now that it's receiving more attention?

A: Now that there's increased awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace, employers should be proactive in assessing the sufficiency of their culture, harassment training, company policies and reporting and investigation procedures. Employers should frequently communicate these processes to all employees, and employees should acknowledge receipt and understanding of these policies and processes in writing, preferably on an annual basis.

Q: What are some of the highlights from the survey?

A: Crowe & Dunlevy is the only Employment Law Alliance firm in the state of Oklahoma, and our employment attorneys participated in the survey. The survey results closely align with some of the issues our clients have seen in recent years. Particularly, harassment through electronic means is becoming more prevalent, and the most common form of alleged sexual harassment comes in the form of “language, jokes and teasing.” Additionally, most employment attorneys agree that employers would benefit from seeking assistance from outside counsel and/or investigators in conducting investigations.

Q: What should an employer do if it receives a complaint of sexual harassment?

A: There are a number of possible issues that can arise from a complaint of sexual harassment, so seeking advice from an experienced employment attorney is always advised. Also, in each case, the employer must conduct a prompt, thorough and unbiased investigation and take appropriate remedial action for substantiated allegations.

PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER

Published The Oklahoman, May 11, 2018