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Sexually harassed employees squeezing employers for more damages

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HC Online | 12 Nov 2014, 06:55 AM Agree 0
Legal experts predict an increase in sexual harassment cases as victims of such behaviour are being awarded higher amounts of compensation.
  • Bernie Althofer | 13 Nov 2014, 10:39 AM Agree 0
    Decisions such as the one highlighted in this article increase the need for public and private sector organisations to be increasingly aware of the increased 'payouts' being made.

    Whilst the amount may vary from case to case, it does seem that the reported 'payout' does not represent the total overall costs incurred by all parties involved.

    These type of cases also highlight the need for organisational systems and processes to be regularly reviewed and assessed to determine whether or not they are working in the manner intended. It seems pointless having a well documented system or process in place when managers and workers are going off at a tangent or not acting in the manner required.

    Using performance management systems and processes to drive accountability and responsibility may be one way of encouraging managers and workers to be more proactive and to take preventive action when it comes to preventing, detecting, reporting and resolving the various types of counter productive workplace behaviours e.g. sexual harassment. A CEO should not be in a situation where they ask a middle manager what they have done or are doing to address sexual harassment, to be told "It's not my job."
  • Bernie Althofer | 13 Nov 2014, 05:27 PM Agree 0
    Maybe the headline should say "Courts recognising the impact of sexual harassment and responding appropriately".

    It might be the case that there is increased evidence being presented to show the physical and psychological and financial impacting on individuals and Courts, Commissions and Tribunals are making decisions and awarding payouts more in line with those impacts.

    It does seem that when a complainant engages a legal firm or has sufficient expertise to provide a more detailed case, the responses from Courts etc do take this into consideration, and as seen by the appeal in the case, some payouts are seen as inadequate. I suspect that one of the reasons why payouts might be increased is to send a deterrent message that sexual harassment is not acceptable, and that if individuals and organisations continue to permit it to occur, the 'penalties' imposed with reflect the seriousness of the behaviours.
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