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Sexual harassment claims continue to increase across the U.S. following revelations in Hollywood in the fall of 2017 and the rise of the #MeToo movement.

According to data from the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), some industries appear to have a much larger problem than others.

 

Which industries are those?  Here’s a list:

  • Hotels and restaurants
  • Retail trade
  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare and Social Assistance. 

The hotel and restaurant trades seem to have a particularly serious problem on their hands (e.g., more than 60 women have complained about harassment at IHOP and Applebee's restaurants since 2010.  Each of these restaurants is independently owned).

Why do hotels and restaurants have such a problem with harassment?

According to experts, workers in these low-paying jobs are often teenagers or adults struggling to make ends meet, making them easy targets for abuse.

To be clear, the problem exists across all industries – making it imperative that employers take the issue seriously.

 

Here are steps every employer should follow so as to avoid the serious legal consequences that can flow from these cases:

  1. Make sure you have a clear and visible anti-harassment policy and complaint procedure.
    1. Adopt and publish grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolution of all sex discrimination complaints, including complaints of sexual harassment.

    2. A sexual harassment grievance procedure should:

      1. Bypass a supervisor or other staff member who may be the harasser
      2. Provide the victim access to someone of same-sex
      3. Provide access to a person trained in human resources and/or counseling
      4. Assure confidentiality of complaints and records to the fullest extent possible
      5. Ensure no retaliation
    3. Take every complaint seriously. 
      1. Always conduct a prompt, full and fair investigation. 
      2. Always take prompt corrective action as may be necessary.
  2. An employer’s ultimate goal must be to create a work environment in which all persons understand, through the policy statements and the actions taken in support of that policy, that sexual harassment will not be tolerated at any time.

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 and labor law matters and can provide your business with comprehensive legal counsel ranging from assistance with necessary preventive measures to trial advocacy.  Please call us if we can help you. 

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