Whether you are working at the front or back office, chances are your job involves interacting with people other than your co-workers. Independent contractors, customers and suppliers play crucial roles in keeping your employer in business and, by extension, keeping you employed. As such, their satisfaction is paramount.
But what happens if a customer or supplier treats you unfairly? Worse still, what happens if the unfair treatment in question makes you uncomfortable?
Your employer has a duty to protect you from abuse
According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are required to create and maintain a workplace that is devoid of all forms of harassment. In simple English, your employer has a duty to protect you from sexist, racist or discriminatory co-workers, customers and suppliers. Thus, your employer is legally obligated to act if you are sexually harassed by a customer.
When can your employer be held liable?
Your employer could potentially be held responsible for sexual harassment that is perpetrated by a non-employee if they knew about the act but did nothing about it. To protect your interests, if you are sexually harassed by a client, you’ll need to file a report just as you would if a co-worker harassed you. Upon receipt of the complaint, your employer has a duty to investigate the incident and take action – even if it puts a strain on the relationship with the client. If they fail to address the matter conclusively, you have a right to file a formal complaint with the EEOC.
Protecting your rights
Everyone deserves a safe and fair work environment. If you are sexually harassed by a customer, you need to explore your legal options. Speaking with a legal professional can help you to achieve this important aim.