As The Weinstein Company will soon learn, it is a serious mistake to allow a culture of “anything goes” to exist in your workplace.  Whether the vice is sexual harassment, discrimination or retaliation, ignoring the problem will eventually result in litigation to set things right.  These matters need prompt attention, not a blind eye, if you wish to avert a costly lesson.
Most employers have (and if they don’t, they should have) written policies intended to discourage bad or unlawful conduct at work.  But, merely having the policy is rarely enough. Actively practicing and enforcing those policies is what the law requires. In other words, saying your company has an “open door” policy, won’t protect you if your door is usually closed.  Merely telling employees to report harassment won’t suffice, if you or any powerful person in management is the alleged harasser. And, saying retaliation won’t occur won’t work, if evidence of historic retaliation exists.
Given the litigious environment we now find ourselves in, your company should take affirmative steps, now, to increase your employees’ awareness of these essential workplace policies.   And, most importantly, you should encourage your employees to use such policies whenever necessary or appropriate.  Evidence you have done so can only help reduce your risks.
Contact any attorney in BFAS’s Employment Law Practice Group for additional information or advice in this regard or to explore the wisdom of a legal audit to better immunize your business from permitting bad behavior to become expensive and embarrassing litigation.
Douglas B. Large, Partner
(Direct) 805.966.7757
DISCLAIMER:  This Legal Alert is one of a series of business, real estate, employment and tax Legal Alerts prepared by the attorneys at Buynak, Fauver, Archbald & Spray, LLP. This Alert is not exhaustive, nor is it legal advice. You should discuss your particular situation with us or with your own attorney. Our legal representation is only undertaken through a written engagement letter and not by the distribution of this Legal Alert.