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REPORTING AND INVESTIGATING HARASSMENT

REPORTING AND INVESTIGATION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND OTHER DISCRIMINATION CLAIMS

If you are an employee and your company is covered by the federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination (more than 15 employees) and you believe that you are the victim of discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, age, or martial status or other legally protected category, you should first examine your company's personnel policies or handbook. You should take whatever action is proscribed in order to file a charge of discrimination within the company. If you feel that you will be discriminated against by the company for filing a charge of discrimination or you are required to report the violation to the boss who is committing the acts of discrimination, then you should consult with an attorney or the appropriate governmental agency (EEOC, OEO, FHRC, etc.) first.

If the company fails to act upon you charge of discrimination by either failing to investigate the charge objectively and /or failing to correct the problem, then you should proceed with whatever other steps are outlined in the personnel manual or seek guidance from an attorney or the appropriate governmental agency. Remember, there are time limits to filing a charge of discrimination with the appropriate governmental agency or you forever loose your right to file a charge and subsequent lawsuit! The maximum under Florida law is one year, under Federal law the maximum is 300 days. Each county or city in Florida that has it own equal opportunity act or anti-discrimination in employment ordinance may have different time limits for filing a charge of discrimination.

If you are an employer and want to comply with the law, prevent discriminatory treatment , avoid lawsuits, and enhance productivity, you should publish a non-discrimination policy, including a policy prohibiting sexual harassment as well as other forms of illegal discrimination. You should notify all employees of a mechanism for reporting misconduct that will not result in retaliation against the employee. You should investigate all such allegations of misconduct and discriminatory conduct. It is more effective to have such allegations investigated by outside firms. This seems to provide employees with a sense of being able to tell the truth without fear of retaliation, and should result in a more objective report being submitted to senior management so as to allow it to take corrective action. By having effective anti-discrimination policies, widely publishing such policies to all employees, providing a mechanism whereby employees can have their complaints filed and objectively investigated without fear of retribution., and taking remedial actions to correct problems that do exist, an employer can avoid lawsuits and create a more stable and productive work environment.

 
       

Akers & Boswell, PA
2161 Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard, Suite 407
West Palm Beach, Florida 33409
(561) 547 6300 - (561) 828 9212 FAX