No matter their size, prudent employers in the Orlando area will have a written policy about harassment and make sure that they consistently enforce it.
Workers, especially if they are victims of harassment, will need to understand what their policy requires of them when reporting their concerns internally and follow through on these requirements.
Harassment is a form of a workplace discrimination
Many Floridians might have heard about sexual harassment. However, this is just one type of harassment employers have an obligation to prevent.
The law is that harassing a worker on the basis of their race, sex, religion or other protected status is illegal discrimination, and employers can be held accountable for not stopping it.
An anti-harassment policy may resolve hostile work environment issues
Having and enforcing an anti-harassment policy protects employers and employees alike.
If an employer has and follows their policy, then they may have protection for harassment claims based on a hostile work environment.
By way of background, employers must not allow an environment in which supervisors, other workers or even customers, vendors or visitors harass an employee through jokes, comments and other behavior when that behavior is discriminatory.
That said, employers are not expected to stop all harassment before it happens. They are only expected to try to prevent it and, when it does happen, investigate and take appropriate action.
Employees in most cases should follow the policy before pursuing legal claims
A robust harassment policy will accomplish these goals.
As such, employees who are claiming harassment but choose not to follow this policy may have a hard time raising their legal claims.
On the other hand, the employee may be able to use their employer’s harassment policy to get help before a problem even gets to the point where a lawsuit is necessary.
If they follow the policy but get no help, then they may have a better chance of pursuing their options legally.