Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.
When sexual harassment is reported, employers have an obligation to take reasonable measures to prevent the harassment from continuing. If an employer fails to satisfy this obligation, they can be held liable for future instances of harassment.
At a bare minimum, an investigation should be undertaken and vigorously documented. This means interviewing the accuser, the accused, and any witnesses, as well as following up on anything that that might be relevant to the accusation. An employer is under no legal obligation to find that an accusation of sexual harassment is true simply because it has been reported. However, if you find that the allegation is false, there should be a compelling reason for such finding, beyond simply "believing" the accused over the accuser. Otherwise, you risk liability for future harassment if a jury believes that your conclusion was unreasonable and you therefore failed to take reasonable preventative measures.
If you find that the allegation has merit, this does not mean you have to fire the accused. "Reasonable preventative measures" are left largely up to the employer and will depend on the specific circumstances. Sexual harassment trait, a writeup, a suspension, separating the two employees, or ensuring that they work together with supervision are all various things you could do to satisfy your obligation. Whatever you do, it should be extremely well documented.
I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.
If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.
* Disclaimer *
Just Answer is a venue for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed by these communications.