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Holding parties accountable for workplace harassment

| Jun 4, 2021 | Employment Law

No worker should suffer mistreatment on the job. Unfortunately, employees across Michigan face sexual harassment from their bosses and coworkers every day. Not only does this misconduct make work an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous place to be, but it also violates employees’ rights.

Considering the toll harassment takes on individuals, it is crucial to hold parties accountable when they sexually harass someone or allow such behaviors to take place.

Filing a complaint

The first step in stopping harassment is notifying someone that it is happening. This could be your manager, their supervisor or Human Resources. You could also file a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights

Keep track of when your file your complaint, who you tell and what – if any – action they took to remedy the situation.

Taking legal action

If the harassment does not stop or it caused you to suffer damages, you can take legal action. Filing a lawsuit can allow victims to pursue:

  • Compensation for financial losses, like lost wages and legal fees
  • Damages for emotional distress and other non-economic losses
  • Job reinstatement for wrongful termination or other retaliatory actions

Filing a legal claim can also make it easier for any other victims of harassment to come forward.

Other consequences for harassers

Besides the financial consequences that can come from harassment claims, there can be other penalties. A person could be fired for misconduct; they could lose clients and suffer other professional setbacks.

Additionally, Michigan lawmakers recently proposed legislation that would make publicly available any settlements stemming from a harassment lawsuit involving state lawmakers. The bill aims to improve transparency when it comes to knowing when these public figures settle legitimate harassment claims.

Currently, details of these settlements are typically private. However, the bill would eliminate this level of secrecy and publicize information on a settlement upon request.

Whether a harasser is a lawmaker or not, people who sexually harass others on the job should be held accountable. And this accountability starts when victims report workplace harassment and defend their rights to a safe work environment.