Is Employer Liable for ‘Creepy’ Coworker?



I used to have a really creepy co-worker. He would talk all day about his strip club adventures and his efforts to court a stripper. He would slip the topic into any work-related conversation. I tried to keep my distance from him and so did most of the women in the office. 

Since then, I've noticed almost every office has a creeper. In some workplaces, the creeper is manageable. In others, he or she goes too far. When it goes to far, your work life can become miserable.

But at what point is an employer liable for an employee who is a creeper? 

Diversity Inc. has devoted an entire round up to real life work scenarios where an employer has been held liable or let off the hook for creepy behavior by a manager or fellow co-worker.

Here are a few court findings:

* Persistent matchmaking by a co-worker might seem creepy but it's not officially harassment. Laincy v. Chatham County Board of Assessors 

* Apologizing in advance for any offensive conduct doesn't let a supervisor off the hook.Hoffner v. Associated Lumber Industries, Inc.

*  Knowing an employee is an offensive “pest” yet taking no effective action can get an employer in hot water.Hollis v. Town of Mount Vernon 

* If the person complaining about a boss being a creeper fails to provide any details and cooperate when the company tries to follow up, the company may not be liable for harassment. Crockett v. Mission Hospital, Inc.


In bringing a case against an employer, there are many variables — some cases are worth pursuing. Have you seen creepy behavior go too far in your workplace?




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