This is a common complaint and problem for employers. Employees go to their supervisor or Human Resources (HR) and use the word “harassment”, it gets everyone nervous followed with questions on how to handle it.
Many employees use this word to provoke action and the employee is often thinking that any type of offensive behavior is illegal workplace harassment.
First you need to work with your HR manager and find out what is really going on. Ask the employee about the behavior, what she thinks the reason for the alleged harassment is. Find out with questioning the employee if she believes it is related to her gender, age, race, religion, a disability or because she has children. If, after thorough questioning, you and HR determine her claim of harassment is not based on any of those protected categories you have a management issue not a legal one. To be an illegal form of employment discrimination, workplace harassment must be based on race, color, religion, national origin, disability, genetics, age or sex.
If you think you have a problem based on a protected category contact InnovaCounsel as soon as possible so that our employment lawyers may help diffuse the problem before it becomes a lawsuit.