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Company investigations into sexual harassment claims

Some people in New York who face sexual harassment at work might find that if they attempt to go through the standard employer resolution process, the company might be more focused on protecting itself than on preventing the harassment. Many companies do not have clear policies in place to deal with sexual harassment. At worst, some companies' arbitration systems might even prevent employees from taking a case to court.

For example, Sterling Jewelers had a hotline for employees to report harassment. However, some employees reported that they thought calling the hotline would put their careers in jeopardy. Another company with a hotline allegedly admitted in court that its real purpose was to protect the company. In some cases, companies might use the hotlines to become aware of and prepare for potential legal action.

There are certain elements in how a company handles accusations of sexual harassment that may point to whether the company is genuinely committed to protecting its employees. The company should have investigative processes that are transparent. Independent companies should be responsible for investigating allegations of harassment. Policies should be clear and concrete.

An individual who is facing workplace sexual harassment, which could include inappropriate jokes and sexual comments, might want to speak to an attorney. While the employee might still want to go through workplace channels initially, it may be necessary to take certain steps to ensure that the employee's rights are protected throughout the process. The employee might also want to consider what their goal is. For example, if an employee has been terminated after being sexually harassed, they might want to consider whether they want their job back or simply want compensation.

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