“Several recent cases brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reinforce the concept that employers can be liable for the harassing conduct of third parties if the employer knew or should have known of the conduct and failed to take timely remedial measures,” Heather Garrison, counsel with Spilman Thomas & Battle, writes for JD Supra.
Garrison notes one case where a gas station and convenience store owner recently settled an EEOC lawsuit for failure to stop a customer from sexually harassing a female employee. That owner agreed to pay $75,000. Employers need to make sure their harassment policy covers customers as well as other third parties, including clients, contractors and vendors, Garrison notes. “Make sure employees know how to bring forth complaints against these third parties,” she writes.