New Jersey companies can face many negative consequences if an employee is sexually harassed. To avoid litigation fees and damaged reputations, many companies will take action as soon as it is reported. Most businesses have written policies about what should be considered sexual harassment and how and to whom any incidents should be handled.
Though many workers who have been sexually harassed file formal complaints, there are some who only report what happened to them to the human resources department of their company. If the human resources department takes action and successfully prevents further harassment from occurring, the worker may choose not to pursue any litigation. An employer who is informed of sexual harassment and does nothing to stop it leaves the company open to a lawsuit.
An employer should start investigating a sexual harassment report within 24 hours of receiving it. The complainant, the accused individual and any workers who may have witnessed the sexual harassment incidents should all be interviewed. If the employer determines that sexual harassment has taken place, the employer will be responsible for preventing any future incidents. In some cases, it is necessary for an employer to fire the person who was the perpetrator.
When an employee's sexual harassment report is not taken seriously or investigated properly, the employee may continue to be victimized by the harasser and be forced to endure a hostile working environment. There may even be a retaliatory act taken, such as a wrongful termination. In such an event, the victim may want to have the assistance of counsel in pursuing the available legal remedies.