Employers have a responsibility to take action when an employee claims she’s been sexually harassed. But what if the employee won’t give any more details?
Stephanie Crockett worked as a radiologic technologist at Mission Hospital in North Carolina.
In February 2010, Crockett was called into a meeting with HR and the director of her department. Crockett’s manager had reported that Crockett had continued to violate company policy by using her cell phone on the job.
Crockett responded that her manager had done something “horrific” to her the previous week and was trying to cover it up.
The problem: Crockett wouldn’t elaborate on what happened between her and her supervisor, nor did she tell anyone in management at the hospital about the incident. The director of her department offered to get to the bottom of things, but Crockett was suspended in the meantime.
The director and someone from HR spoke with Crockett’s manager, who denied that anything happened. The director and HR then met with Crockett again and asked if the incident involving her manager had involved sexual advances. Crockett nodded yes, but again refused to say more. She also refused to file a formal complaint with the company.
The company investigated the complaint anyway, and was unable to discover any info on the alleged harassment.
Crockett was eventually fired, and she filed suit, claiming sexual harassment.
The court ruled in favor of the company, saying the company did everything it was required to, even in light of Crockett’s refusal to participate:
The uncontradicted evidence establishes that Mission met with Crockett on numerous occasions in an effort to promptly correct the situation, counseled her in the procedure for filing a formal complaint, and provided her with a copy of the sexual harassment policy, despite Crockett’s unwillingness to cooperate with the investigation.
Even the best investigators need something more to go on than “horrific,” and apparently a wink and a nod isn’t that “something more,” at least in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The case is Crockett v. Mission Hospital, Inc.