The Equal Opportunity “Harasser”: Risks, Rehabilitation, And Recognizing The Time To Exit

Articles / Publications
HR Legal & Compliance Excellence

In an article published in the September 2023 issue of HR Legal & Compliance Excellence, Kathryn Willis authored an article providing insight into how to navigate a workplace’s “equal opportunity harasser” – an employee or supervisor whose harassment is not limited to or directed towards any form of identity, such as race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or otherwise.

To deal with the equal opportunity harasser, Willis suggested that HR professionals properly identify harassment and define the boundaries that separate management, harassment, and bullying. In highlighting the legal implications of this type of employee, Willis also explored the various applications of the equal opportunity harasser concept in recent court cases.

To address such an issue, considering coaching opportunities, such as a mentor or enhanced training, could be a viable option for remedy. Willis clarified, “While termination may be considered the ‘safest’ route, most internal complaints of equal opportunity harassment are not so black and white as to warrant automatic separation.” 

However, human resources professionals must also recognize when termination is the only solution, as negative behaviors can affect the overall work environment for other employees and decrease morale.

To view the full article, please click here.

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