NEW YORK, NY PR WEB (October 12, 2009) — New York construction accident lawyer and outspoken worker advocate David Perecman issued a pointed warning today to employers who might turn a blind eye to sexual harassment in the workplace:
“Company CEOs who want to manage risk and establish a productive work environment for their employees,” New York lawyer Perecman said, “must protect their workers by taking all of the necessary precautions needed to prevent sexual harassment from occurring in the workplace.”
Perecman said the problem can also be found in places not typically associated with discrimination cases, such as rough-and-tumble New York construction sites. In a recent case involving Bianca Wisniewski, a project safety coordinator, and Steve Greco, an elevator engineer, who worked at the same site as Wisniewski, she charges that Greco groped and propositioned her repeatedly against her will, while her employer did nothing despite her pleas for help.
“Even though,” Perecman said, “the Wisniewski case is different than the typical situation, because in this case an employee of one company is making a claim against an employee from another company and therefore may be difficult to prosecute, failure to adopt a pro-active and aggressive stance on sexual harassment in the workplace can result not only in costly lawsuits, but in a loss of employee morale, decline in productivity, increased absenteeism, increased healthcare costs and higher employee turnover.
New York construction accident lawyer, David Perecman urges companies to take a strong stand against sexual harassment by instituting a policy for all employees to follow; make it a high priority of the company; and, distribute a copy to every worker and supervisor who works on the site, and to all third-party suppliers and customers.
“Employees need to grasp the serious nature of sexual harassment,” Perecman said. “Companies should spell out, through a company policy document, in no uncertain terms, that this type of anti-social behavior in the workplace is not going to be tolerated.”
The place to start, Perecman suggests, is the development of a very visible document that address the following general points of conduct:
- A commitment to eradicate and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
- A definition of sexual harassment that recognizes the two different sets of legal grounds for an employee to claim sexual harassment:
1. Quid pro quo, where a person in authority demands sexual favors of a subordinate as a condition of their employment, or to get a job benefit.
2. Hostile work environment, defined as generally unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
- An explanation of penalties, including termination, which the employer will impose for substantiated sexual harassment behavior.
- A detailed outline of grievance procedures employees should follow. List additional resources, or contact persons, available for consultation.
- A commitment to keep all sexual harassment complaints and personnel actions confidential.
“The matter of establishing clearly defined grievance procedures,” Perecman explained, “is very important, but it can be complicated, particularly in work environments like construction sites, where multiple employers often have employees working side-by-side with one another.” From the point-of-view of a New York construction accident lawyer, Perecman recommends that victims of sexual harassment should follow company policy. However, if one doesn’t exist, he advises victims to complain to their boss first. If the boss does nothing and the situation persists, the victim should contact an employment, or discrimination, lawyer.