An employee of 1995 Auto Corp. recently filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The charge states that 2 female employees in one of the nonunion satellite offices were subject to repeated and unwelcome sexual advances by their male supervisor who is on a work visa. The charge further states that the two women previously complained to the supervisor’s immediate superior letting him know they felt uncomfortable and would like the behavior to stop. The harassment did not stop, but rather, it continued over a period of 3 months. At that point, the female employees decided that the company would not help. They decided to file a claim with the EEOC, stating they were being sexually harassed at work.
The owner is certain the company can put together a response that will clear the company of the charge. He asked if you felt they had a pretty good case. You state that you are not legal counsel for 1995 Auto Corp.; however, you request permission to investigate the claim before giving your thoughts on the company’s policy documentation for a legal defense.
Given your knowledge of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, you are concerned with 1995 Auto Corp.’s ability to defend the EEOC charge. You plan to engage in your own investigation into the claim to learn more about the complaints made, who had knowledge, what type of investigation was conducted (if any), and what actions were taken.
As you prepare your strategy for investigating the claim and the union issues, consider the following:
- What is the legal definition for sexual harassment?
- What investigation process should 1995 Auto Corp. have engaged in when the claims were first made? Why will that be important to the defense of the EEOC charge?
- What is the legal liability for 1995 Auto Corp. if the EEOC investigation finds the charge to be factual with employer knowledge of the events? Consider the options of mediation versus litigation with regard to organizational cost.
- What should 1995 Auto Corporation do to prevent this type of charge in the future?
- What are your overall recommendations for the owner with regard to preparing a response to the EEOC charge?
- How should 1995 Auto Corp. address a harassment case when it involves employees with a work visa? Consider any special circumstances in employment law dealing with harassment and foreign labor in the workplace.
The following links may be useful to you in this process:
- The Charge Handling Process
Discrimination: Part 1
In the recent past, investors and managers of big and successful companies are putting more emphasis on human capital. Human resource is seen as one of the most valuable and important assets that an organization can own. As a result, an organization needs to take care of its employees to ensure that they are comfortable so that they can produce maximum. The comfortability of organizational staffs is reciprocated in the results and output that is delivered by those particular employees. However, some of the employers are some mean and oppressive and as a result, employees forms labor unions which fights for their rights in the workplace. An example of such organization that fights for employees includes equal employment opportunity commission which deals with workplace discrimination (Berdahl, 2007). Usually, the body deals with all kinds of discrimination ranging from individuals race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age and disability. All workers have a right to work freely in an organization free from any kind of discrimination.
Sexual harassment is spread in some industries than the others. In most cases, women are the victims of sexual harassment, especially from male-dominated industries. Such industries include all manufacturing industries or those industries that require hard manpower. Sexual harassment can be defined as unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors or a physical conduct of sexual nature from people of opposite sex or the same sex. Sexual harassment usually creates a hostile and unhealthy working environment and the victims always suffer from victimizations and discrimination (Berdahl, 2007). Moreover, sexual harassment can be defined as a form of discrimination that occurs in the workplace and the victims have a right to sue under Title VII of the Civil rights act of 1964.
All employers and investors have a duty and responsibility to prevent harassment from occurring. Thus, 1995 auto corp. should have engaged in proper investigations that involve the following steps.
- Reporting the employee’s complaint – after the employee reporting the matter to the supervisor, the supervisor should report the matter to the HR.
- Initiating the investigation- an immediate investigation on the claim should be conducted to establish the truth of the matter.
- The investigator should be familiar with the EEOC guidelines so that the employee can stand a chance to win the case against an employer.
- Development of adequate documentation in support of the allegations in an attempt to provide concrete evidence
- Getting a sense of the employee complaints and accepting the outcomes of the investigation.
A good investigation ensures that the investigator is aware of what he is dealing with and takes the necessary steps (Gruber, 2008).
Usually, an employer’s legal liability for sexual harassment depends on the harasser’s position in an organization and the nature of sexual harassment being alleged. In our case, immediate supervisors committed the crime and thus the employer is liable. The employer is liable for quid pro quo harassment where there is evidence that the immediate supervisor improperly uses his position in the company to commit the crime. Mediation would be convenient to use considering that the employer mediates the case and thus no outside party is needed in the case.
The supervisor working on the visa should face the full consequences of his action and receive full punishment to make an example out of him. The case should be used as a lesson to all other employees or supervisors that no one is above the law and occurrence of a similar case would definitely le3ad to punishment and at extreme cases lead to an immediate sack (Dill, 2008).
- After a detailed investigation on the sexual harassment on the case and obtaining the necessary evidence I would recommend that:
- If the supervisor is found guilty, he should receive full punishment to act as an example and to avoid the occurrence of such an event in future.
- The victim of the case should be fully compensated for all the troubles and intimidation that she had to go through.
- The supervisor should write an official apology to the victim and promise the owner never to repeat his actions since they endanger the reputation of the company and the working life of other employees.
The corporation needs to establish and develop a written policy on sexual harassment to show that all the necessary steps were exploited to prevent such an event to occur ever again (Gruber, 2008). However, to ensure that all the staff is aware of the policy, it should be communicated to all levels of employees. Some of the points to address in the policy include:
- A definition of sexual harassment
- A statement that sexual harassment activities will not be tolerated
- How the complaints will be dealt with
- Punishment and consequences of all activities and actions associated with sexual harassment
After the filing of a complaint with EEOC, the accused is notified of the complaints within ten days of the charges. The charges do not usually involve finding that the accused’s organization engaged in the crime. Usually, the organization can choose to solve the conflict through mediation or litigation depending on the financial power of the involved organization. The organization starts by collecting evidence from the charging party, the accused and other employees before arriving at a final decision (Dill, 2008).
Berdahl, J. L. (2007). The sexual harassment of uppity women. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(2),, 425.
Dill, K. E. (2008). Effects of exposure to sex-stereotyped video game characters on tolerance of sexual harassment. . Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44(5), , 1402-1408.
Gruber, J. E. (2008). Comparing the impact of bullying and sexual harassment victimization on the mental and physical health of adolescents. Sex Roles, 59(1-2),, 1-13.