Sexual harassment claim is against the company, not the perpetrator
When you sue for sexual harassment at work, your claim is against the company, not the perpetrator featuring Attorney Travis Hollifield of the Hollifield Legal Centre in Winter Park, Florida.
Attorney Tom Olsen: A woman is being sexually harassed in that company and you're going to sue, you're not going sue necessarily the person doing the harassment, you're going to sue the company itself. Are you saying the company is always going to be liable for those damages?
Attorney Travis Hollifield: Well, obviously if we're able to prove that the sexual harassment occurred, then, the answer is yes. The answer to your earlier question is also yes. We cannot sue an individual person for sexual harassment. Under a sexual harassment theory, it would only be if there's inappropriate touching and a battery claim. Otherwise, a hostile work environment sexual harassment claim which is the most common kind of sexual harassment claim, you're suing the company itself. The legal entity that's the employer. That's the person who would be the defendant in the lawsuit.
Attorney Tom Olsen: What if it's a mid-manager doing the sexual harassment and none of his superiors knew that this was going? Company is still liable for that?
Attorney Travis Hollifield: Well, that's the difficulty and why I said earlier it's so important for a working woman who feels like she's being harassed to make a complaint up the chain of command if there's no human resources department then to an upper-level manager so that the company is aware. Then, the company has an opportunity to take ameliorative steps to either stop the harassment or minimize its effect. Now, if the company is aware and they don't do that, well, then that puts them at risk for some significant liability.
Attorney Tom Olsen: All right. Folks, my name is Tom Olson. The name of the show is Olson on law right here on News 96.5