Since the fall of 2017, much has been written about the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace.
And a rise in awareness of the problem has clearly led to a rise in the number of harassment claims being filed against employers.
Is all this news changing the way employers are training and managing their employees?
A research effort sampling U.S. human resource managers in March of this year produced these findings:
- 79 percent of HR professionals said that sexual harassment prevention training will be considered a “high priority” or “essential” moving forward, up from 40 percent prior to the 2017 news coverage.
- 84 percent of HR professionals said that how the company handles sexual harassment complaints will be considered a “high priority” or “essential” moving forward, up from 65 percent.
But is change really occurring?
According to a newly released study from the Harris Poll, only 10 percent of employees sampled and working in the U.S. said their organizations have added more anti-sexual harassment training or resources since the start of the #MeToo movement.
When asked what, if anything, their employers were doing about the problem, most respondents said their companies had simply reminded them of existing harassment resources.
So what’s our advice to Connecticut employers?
If you take this problem lightly – you’re putting your business in significant legal jeopardy.
Here is a reminder about the risks beyond very bad PR…
Remedies a sexually harassed employee can for any harm they have suffered:
- The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act comes into play here allowing for the following:
- Reinstatement, back pay, front pay, lost fringe benefits (including pension rights); unlimited compensatory and punitive damages; attorneys’ fees.
- Entitlement to a jury trial.
- Title VII and the Civil Rights Act of 1991 also come into play as remedies…
- Same remedies as available under state law plus punitive damages for private employers and attorney’s fees.
- Compensatory and punitive damage caps against private (not public) employers ranging from $50,000 for employers with from 15 to 100 employees to $300,000 for employers with 501 or more employees.
- Entitlement to a jury trial.
If you are an employer in Connecticut and need guidance on the topic of sexual harassment, contact the attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale. We do one thing and one thing only – we are an employer defense law firm – in fact, we are one of the largest employer defense law firms in the region. What’s more, each of our attorneys has over 20 years of experience in employment law and labor law matters and can provide your business with comprehensive legal counsel ranging from assistance with necessary preventive measures to trial advocacy. Please contact us if we can help you.
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