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Understanding employer liability for sexual harassment in Oregon

On Behalf of | May 24, 2022 | Employment Law

People who have been subjected to any form of wrongdoing in the workplace must make sure that they understand when the employer is liable. This is a critical aspect of trying to address the issue and potentially seeking compensation, especially in cases of sexual harassment. To fully grasp employer liability for sexual harassment, when it is in place and what the steps are in the aftermath, it is useful to have experienced assistance.

Important facts about when employers are liable for sexual harassment

While many employers are aware of inappropriate behavior by their employees with other employees, there are times when they are not. Still, if it happens at the workplace, the employer can be held liable for it. An example might be a hardware store where there is a supervisor who is sexually harassing a co-worker. If there is tangible employment action as part of the harassment, the employer is liable. This might include a refusal to offer a promotion or manipulating work hours as part of the harassment.

If tangible employment action is not in place, the employer remains liable for sexual harassment if they were aware of it. To avoid this liability, the employer must act to put a stop to the behavior. Failure to do so will be enough to show they are liable. Should a co-worker or colleague commit sexual harassment, then the employer is also liable unless they step in to address it.

Liability does not stop with employees. If non-employees like a vendor or even a customer are committing sexual harassment, then there is liability. A foundational part of liability for non-employee harassment is how much control the employer has over that individual. If it is a vendor, they can stop dealing with the company over the harassment.

Employer liability can be vital when deciding how to proceed

People frequently make the mistake of misunderstanding employment law and exactly what an employer’s responsibility is when there is sexual harassment in the workplace. There is a wide range of factors that are considered and should be known. This can help with putting a stop to the behavior and holding employers and those who were committing the harassment accountable through a legal claim. If there is confusion or the harassment is ongoing, having help can be essential to understand what to do.