Over the last several years employers have started to recognize that sexual
comments, lewd jokes and other types of sexual behavior may make employees
uncomfortable and efforts should be made to eliminate offensive behavior.
Allowing unwelcome conduct to continue may create both a bad working environment
and lead to
sexual harassment lawsuits.
But what about when a client is the harasser? Are employees supposed to
put up with crude behavior for the sake of a company?
third-party harassment case out of the 4th Circuit Court said “no,” finding that an employer
may be liable for sexual harassment if it allows a client to harass an employee.
EEOC v. Cromer Food Servs. Inc., the job of Homer R. Howard, an employee of CFS, a food-stocking company,
was to go to clients’ businesses and stock their vending machines.
On a daily basis while at a client’s business Howard was stalked,
called names and questioned about his sexual orientation.
Howard complained to CFS – including three supervisors, a manager
and chairman of the board of directors of CFS – but nothing was
done. CFS called Howard a “cry baby” and said that they couldn’t
do anything about the harassment because the harassers weren’t under
the control of the company.
The appeals court disagreed, determining that “CFS is liable if it
knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take appropriate
actions to halt it.”
Harassment should not be allowed in any context. If you are being subject
to unwelcome conduct at work by a supervisor, co-worker or client, as
Atlanta employment rights attorneys, we urge you to complain to a supervisor. If your employer fails to take
remedial actions, you may be able to file a claim against them.
For more information, please contact the experienced
Georgia sexual harassment lawyers at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC. We are committed to protecting employees
from harassment and discrimination.