Not Having Policies Can Carry a High Price Tag

Emergency jobUnlike our supposed competitors, at hr-haven we really aren’t into scare tactics. We don’t scare the living daylights out of business owners in order to secure business from them. But, every once in a while we see something that we feel is necessary to pass along to keep our entrepreneurial brothers and sisters from inadvertently screwing up the business they’ve worked so hard to create. This is one of those shares because this company faced a fine of $45,600 – primarily because they didn’t have a sexual harassment policy in place. When harassment in the workplace took place, because the company didn’t have a policy, they found the company liable for all of the actions of the employee that perpetrated the harassment.

The EEOC issued this press release on August 17, 2016 regarding monetary damages handed to a company out of New Orleans, Louisiana – Complete Maintenance. You can read the whole thing here:

But, here’s an excerpt:

“NEW ORLEANS – Complete Maintenance, Inc., a Dallas/Fort Worth commercial janitorial service doing business in the New Orleans Metropolitan area, has agreed to pay $45,600 in damages and provide other significant relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed last year by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

In the lawsuit, EEOC charged Complete Maintenance with liability for the severe sexual harassment perpetrated by one of the company’s male supervisors. According to EEOC, while cleaning the men’s bathroom at a retail store serviced by the company, a housekeeper was sexually assaulted by the supervisor, who also threatened to kill members of her family if she

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told anyone about the assault. The following day, the housekeeper reported the assault, at which time a store manager contacted the sheriff’s department. After the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office received the report and informed the company, the accused supervisor left Louisiana to attend a Complete Maintenance meeting. However, he never returned to work for the company and his whereabouts have been unknown since the incident, the lawsuit said.

Complete Maintenance had no written sexual harassment policy and had never provided the harasser / supervisor, the housekeeper or any other employee training on sexual harassment. EEOC filed this lawsuit on behalf of the housekeeper employed by Complete Maintenance. The EEOC alleged that under Title VII, Complete Maintenance is strictly liable for the sexual harassment carried out by the supervisor. The EEOC further alleged that without a sexual harassment policy and without providing employees specifics on how to complain about harassment, the company did not exercise reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct the severely harassing behavior.”

Whether you get help from us, or someone else, please make sure you get your ducks in a row when it comes to the policies you have to have. One way you can do this is by purchasing our HR StartUp Toolkit (click here for more info). It provides you with a process for application/onboarding and all the forms you need, but the most important part is a custom written employee handbook. And, we promise it’s a heck of a lot less expensive than $45,600 (which doesn’t even include legal fees – can you imagine how much those might have been?). Do yourself a favor and cover yourself. We don’t want to see an EEOC press release about you and your company.