When any type of harassment occurs at a workplace in Missouri — especially sexual harassment — the matter should be taken very seriously. Many employees and employers understand the employer can be held liable for the actions of their employees, but many may not understand or correctly implement internal procedures that are required when employee harassment has been alleged at the employer’s workplace.

A Missouri sheriff’s office that could face an employee claim of sexual harassment, has implemented internal procedures to handle the allegations and is contemplating the potential lawsuit. The sheriff’s office has received an employee complaint, by a former female employee, which alleges sexual harassment at the workplace. The allegations include reports of verbal harassment and inappropriate photos and texts messages.

Following the report of the allegations, the sheriff’s office implemented an internal investigation. As part of the internal investigation process, the sheriff’s office has mandated the office employees receive sexual harassment training. The sheriff’s office reports the mandated training is additional training to the already existing training requirements. The additional training is being taught by out-of-state trainers, who have been hired specifically to conduct this employee training. In addition to the training requirements, the internal investigation has prompted the termination of four male employees and two additional employees are currently on administrative leave during the investigation.

Aside from the employer’s internal response to the claimed sexual harassment, the employer claims it has not received any notice of a lawsuit by the employee. Specifically, the employer claims the employee has not obtained a right-to-sue letter.

Source: Liberty Tribune, “Internal investigation ongoing into sexual harassment claims at county sheriff’s department,” Ryne Dittmer, Nov. 1, 2012