Ignorance is Not Bliss When Addressing Sexual Harassment Complaints

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Sexual harassment has once again made headlines. On Monday, August 9, 2021,  Chipotle Mexican Grill agreed to pay $70,000.00 for its egregious response to the sexual harassment complaints of one of its employees. (See EEOC article here.)

Chipotle’s employee repeatedly encountered sexually offensive remarks and inappropriate touching at work. Despite having reported the harassment to her manager, the harassment persisted. When the employee reported the conduct again, Chipotle terminated the employee three days later.

Chipotle’s conduct is a textbook case of what an employer should never do. Sexual harassment allegations are serious—incredibly so. Aside from turning a blind eye to such allegations, the worst thing an employer can do is retaliate against an employee who raises sexual harassment concerns. Any sexual harassment allegation must be taken seriously and must be thoroughly and timely investigated. Ignoring the problem, delaying an investigation, or retaliating against the victim are not options. The repercussions for doing so can be onerous.

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