TAMPA, FL – December 20, 2019 – Labor and employment attorney Gregory A. Hearing, shareholder in GrayRobinson’s Tampa law firm office, authored the Tampa Bay Business Journal article “Reducing the Risk of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace,” published on December 20, 2019. The article starts by examining the recent and abrupt termination of McDonald’s CEO, Steve Easterbrook, explaining that Easterbrook’s termination may appear harsh, but McDonald’s has a duty to protect its employees from unlawful harassment and discrimination.
Greg promotes the idea that strictly enforced romance policies which prohibit romantic relationships between superiors and subordinates can remove potential liability from the equation by preventing, or fixing in a timely manner, these types of situations. He explains that under this type of policy, employees who work together but not in a direct reporting structure may engage in a consensual relationship. Greg attributes the 14 percent increase in charges alleging sexual harassment to the 2018 #MeToo movement, believing the increase is a result of the reports of sexual harassment rather than an increase in the behavior itself.
Greg states that employees already engaged in an office romance should report their relationship to their employer. In certain situations, the employer may have the ability to accommodate the relationship by transferring either individual to a position outside of the supervisory chain of command. He follows that stating, “However, the higher the superior’s position with the employer, the less likely such an accommodation will avert future liability for a sexual harassment or paramour discrimination claim.”
Tampa Bay Business Journal subscribers may read the full article here.