Although there is greater awareness of the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, many employees from all walks of life continue to report it across all industries. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported 26,699 charges of sexual harassment in 2018. Of these claims, just 7% settled, with $14 million recovered by accusers. A considerable fraction of these claims settled outside of court.
As a business owner, you may have taken all the appropriate steps to curb instances of harassment. You included policies for recognizing and reporting sexual harassment in your employee handbook, and you may have required employees to complete sexual harassment training sessions. Unfortunately, you can’t control your employee’s individual actions, and the risk of receiving a harassment claim still exists.
There are many ways to resolve sexual harassment claims. Ideally, measures would be taken internally to put a stop to the harassment; however, an employee alleging harassment may still file a formal complaint. This is more likely to occur if the alleged harasser is allowed to keep his position, or if the employee must continue to interact with their harasser. Ultimately, most companies attempt to settle sexual harassment claims outside of court because of the advantages of avoiding a trial. Could this be the right path for you?
If your company is facing a sexual harassment lawsuit, you’re put in the uncomfortable position of showing consideration to the employee alleging harassment while also protecting your company’s image and reputation, and the unplanned expense of a possible settlement or litigation.
Executives and employees alleging harassment can often benefit from settling delicate matters like this outside of court. If your human resources department, consultant, or attorney launches an investigation into the employee’s sexual harassment complaint and finds proof of workplace harassment, you may discuss a settlement as a possible resolution. Both parties in a claim can benefit by:
It’s not uncommon for companies to try to settle sexual harassment complaints before reaching the court system. Also, companies often insist on non-disclosure agreements. A non-disclosure agreement is a legally-enforceable contract that establishes a confidential relationship between two or more parties. Such an agreement may benefit your company by keeping sensitive corporate information private.
Sexual harassment claim settlements vary widely. Typically, you would want to calculate and include the following losses in the payment:
A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) aims to limit what parties say in the future about a dispute. In a case of sexual harassment in the workplace, an NDA may require the employee bringing the claim to agree to give up any legal claims they have against your company. In many of these agreements, employees also agree to stay quiet about the harassment claim or else face legal action by their employer.
Denver-based employment lawyer Nathan Davidovich of Davidovich Law Firm, LLC, is a Colorado labor and employment lawyer who has resolved many sexual harassment claims throughout his career of more than 55 years. If you’ve experienced sexual harassment at work or require guidance on settling a harassment claim outside of court, Nathan can help you make the best choices possible at this difficult time. Contact Davidovich Law Firm at (303) 825-5529 or complete our contact form to get started.