Part 3 of 3
Harassment Applies to Your Customers and Vendors Too
Protection from harassment provided by the California Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) applies to all sectors of those in the workplace, including independent contractors, interns, employees, job candidates and volunteers. Thus, employees and others must also be protected from harassment by those entering the workplace such as customers, vendors or other non-employees. An employer may be held responsible for harassment if the employer or its agents or supervisors knew of or should have known of the harassment and did not take appropriate action to stop it (
2CCR sec 1103(f)(2)(C)
Respond to Complaints No Matter How You Receive Them
A harassment complaint is not required to be presented using any particular protocol. A complaint can be oral or written and does not have to be presented only to the Human Resource Department or an immediate supervisor. A complaint can also be made anonymously or by co-workers or others who witnessed it. Managers must understand that they are required to respond to harassment that they are aware of, not just an incident that has been reported to them.
Confidentiality Cannot Be Guaranteed
Harassment Investigators might wish they can promise confidentiality to complainants, but in the effort to conduct a fair and thorough investigation that is impossible. An unbiased investigation gives the alleged perpetrator the chance to respond to the allegation. This usually requires the disclosure of the complainant’s name.
An investigator can tell the complainant that any information will be shared strictly on a need-to-know basis. Also the anti-retaliation policy should be explained to all parties involved and rigorously enforced.
Zero Tolerance Policy for Harassment
Every employer should have a zero tolerance policy for harassment, disrespectful and unprofessional conduct. This is the first step to prevent harassment and other claims.
The CLIA Helpline, free to all CLIA lodging members can answer questions about HR, legal, ADA and operational issues. Just call 916.925.2915.