Most Maryland employees and employers know that sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited, but they may not know ways in which employers leave their employees more vulnerable to this type of behavior. One of these errors is in the writing of sexual harassment policy.
Some sexual harassment policies may lay out a specific chain of command for an employee to report harassment. The problem with this is that if the harasser is part of that chain of command, the employee has nowhere to turn. Problems can also occur if sexual relationships between subordinates and supervisors are not banned. At the very least, individuals in this situation should be required to report the relationship to management. It is also necessary to train employees regarding what constitutes sexual harassment, how to report it, and how it should be handled by supervisors.
Employers may also err in the reporting process. Failing to take a claim seriously or investigate it thoroughly may mean problems for both employers and employees. In some cases, a claim might be dismissed because the employee claiming harassment is considered to be a troublemaker and the person accused is well-liked. Employers may also fail to inform employees that they cannot be retaliated against.
Depending on an employer’s response to an accusation of sexual harassment or any other form of discrimination, an employee may wish to speak to an attorney. Their sexual harassment complaint might be ignored, or an investigation might be unsatisfactory. There might be little or no effort to stop the harassment, or an individual might be demoted, fired, or denied a raise or promotion after reporting harassment. In such cases, an employment law attorney can often describe the remedies that may be available.