Message to employers who think having a written anti-harassment policy — and requiring workers to read and sign off on it — is an effective way to shield themselves from lawsuits: Think again.
Teenagers Katrina Shisler and Michelle Powell were servers at an IHOP in Wisconsin.
Both claimed their manager, who was 10 years older than them, frequently subjected them to inappropriate language and touching.
The women went to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which sued on their behalf.
In court, company officials claimed the restaurant had a zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment, and provided training for all staff.
The training consisted of showing new hires a harassment videotape, handing them a copy of the policy, and asking them to read and sign it.
That was fine as far as it went, said the judge. But the “policy and complaint mechanism were not … effective in practice,” the judge wrote.
And although management was required to take sexual harassment training, “the evidence … suggested that the training was inadequate … Not only was the policy and the management training ineffective, but the protections offered by them were illusory.”
Cite: EEOC v. Management Hospitality of Racine. To read the full decision, go here.