While many Texas employees and employers may be increasingly aware of sexual harassment in the workplace, some may not know whether they are responsible for reporting sexual harassment that may be occurring to another employee. It is true that there is no federal law that states that employees are required to report workplace harassment. However, this does not mean that they should stay quiet.
On the other hand, supervisors are required to report incidents and take steps to end harassment once they become alerted to it. This is true even if an employee asks the supervisor to keep the incidents a secret. Coworkers and those who are experiencing sexual harassment should know that the employer is not liable for sexual harassment unless the incident is reported to a supervisor. It should be noted, however, that the employer may be liable regardless if the harasser is a supervisor.
With that being said, companies do not have to have a sexual harassment policy. However, most do as a sexual harassment policy can protect both the company and workers. If a company can prove that they took reasonable actions against claims of sexual harassment and they have a clear policy, there is the possibility that they may not be held liable.
While there are many companies that work to prevent sexual harassment from occurring in the workplace, there are others that may retaliate against a worker for filing a harassment claim. If an employee reported a sexual harassment incident and he or she was fired, demoted or had his or her hours reduced, an employment law attorney may file a claim against the employer. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the claim, the attorney may provide evidence that the employer failed to take appropriate action and that the employee sustained damages as a result. If a settlement cannot be reached, the attorney might recommend taking the case to court.