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Portland Environmental and Real Estate Law Blog

Responding to a sexual harassment complaint against you

Sexual harassment in the workplace is something that can cripple an organization. Over the past few weeks, we have given employers some tips for dealing with complaints of sexual harassment. One point that we haven't yet discussed is how to handle complaints of sexual harassment when they are made against you.

If an employee accuses you of sexual harassment, you can't ignore the complaint. Instead, you must follow the same guidelines as you would follow if the complaint was made against another person. As a manager, supervisor, owner or person of authority in your company, you have to ensure that you are protecting the interests of the company.

Tips for dealing with sexual harassment complaints

Over the past few weeks, we have discussed several factors about how you should deal with a sexual harassment complaint that is made by an employee. Most of the information in those posts was regarding the steps you should take to address the complaint. It is equally as important that you react in a suitable manner to the complaints.

When an employee comes to you with a complaint of sexual harassment, you shouldn't get upset with the employee voicing the complaint. It might help to remember that the complaining employee is the victim if the complaint is factual. Keeping calm and not reacting with anger can help to protect your company from claims of retaliation.

Protect employees from retaliation after harassment complaint

Employers must respond to sexual harassment complaints in a manner that meets the standards for investigation. A thorough investigation and appropriate actions can help to protect your business, let employees know without a doubt that sexual harassment won't be tolerated, and that all complaints are taken seriously.

In a previous blog post, we discussed briefly some of the steps that must be taken in response to a sexual harassment complaint. One important step in that process is to assure the person who filed the complaint, as well as those who are interviewed during the investigation, that retaliatory actions won't be tolerated.

How should I react when an employee files complaints?

Our previous two blog posts have been about how to respond to a complaint about sexual harassment in your company. The steps you take after the complaint is made are all important. Just as important is your reaction when you learn of the allegations.

Should I promise the complainant that confidentiality is guaranteed?

Respond in the proper manner to sexual harassment complaints

As we discussed last week, sexual harassment complaints have to be handled right away. Any delays in sexual harassment investigations can lead to serious problems for the business. When you address any sexual harassment complaint, you must ensure that you take the proper steps.

One of the most important things you can do when you are addressing a sexual harassment complaint is to document everything. By documenting everything you do, you are taking a step to keep the company protected. If an employee opts to take legal action against your company, accurate documentation can often help you in the case.

Employers must take appropriate action after harassment complaint

Employers have to take complaints of workplace harassment seriously. While it is impossible for an employer to control every action of every employee, it is vital that every company has an established plan to deal with workplace harassment complaints. Under no circumstances should an employer ever ignore complaints of harassment because the consequences of doing so can be dire.

If you receive a complaint about workplace harassment, you should immediately begin an investigation into the allegations. Generally, the investigation will include interviewing the accuser, the accused and any witnesses to the incident. If there are any written documents, texts, emails or any other documentation of the events, those must also be gathered and reviewed.

Storm water runoff and drainage litigation is often complex

Taking care of the environment is something that is a major concern. For many businesses, and some individuals, the environmental concern has special effects. In some cases, concern for the environment places a burden on a property owner to ensure that pollution from runoff and drainage doesn't become an environmental concern.

We know that having to deal with state and federal agencies about storm water runoff and drainage issues might be taxing. While we understand the reasons certain environmental laws have been enacted, we also know that it is still important for you to be able to do business.

The Supreme Court hears only a fraction of cases each year

When someone isn't happy with a decision by a court, they will sometimes say they will take their case all the way to the Supreme Court. That is exactly what happens in some cases, but in other cases, the Supreme Court won't hear that particular case. Learning about how the Supreme Court decides which cases to hear might help take some of the mystery out of the process.

In order for the Supreme Court to hear a case, the issue at hand must either fall under federal jurisdiction or pertain to a federal law. If the case pertains to state law or is comprised of parties from only one state, the chance that the Supreme Court will hear the appeal is very slim.

Employment disputes take time away from your business

We have discussed a variety of employment contracts on this blog. Many of those employment contracts serve to protect the employer from having trade secrets leaked to competitors. Those types of employment disagreements aren't the only ones that employers have to deal with.

We know that you have a company to run and don't have time to waste with employment disputes. We can help you resolve employment disputes stemming from a variety of causes. We treat each case in a manner that takes the considerations of that case into account. You can count on us to investigate the dispute so that we can present you with the options that are available.

What should I know about deadlines for Oregon civil appeals?

In our past few blog posts, we have discussed some common contracts that employers can use in an effort to keep their trade secrets from getting into the hands of competitors. If you recall, we have discussed how it is sometimes necessary to head to court to enforce those contracts. These civil cases might end up leading to an appeal if you don't agree with the court's decision. Understanding some of the basic points regarding appeals in Oregon is vital in those cases.

When must an appeal be filed?

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