Harassment is an illegal form of employment discrimination. Even though it is prohibited, harassment frequently occurs in workplaces across the country. In fact, about one-third of the discrimination complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) contain allegations of harassment. To combat this problem, lawmakers in Oklahoma recently passed the Protection From Workplace Harassment and Violence Act. Here’s what you should know about this new law:
What is the Protection From Workplace Harassment and Violence Act?
The Protection From Workplace Harassment and Violence Act allows employers to go to court in order to protect their employees from harassment. Under this law, employers have the right to file a petition with the court for an injunction that prohibits workplace harassment.
How Does It Work?
Employers are allowed to file a petition for an injunction whenever someone is harassing an employee, customer, or any other individual in the workplace. The petition must include:
- Employer’s name
- Name and address of the defendant
- Description of the defendant’s actions that constitute harassment
The court will review the information to determine whether or not the defendant has harassed someone within the employer’s workplace. Based on this decision, the court will decide whether or not to grant the injunction. If it is granted, the court may order the defendant to stay away from the employer’s place of business. The court can also order the defendant to avoid making contact with the employer or the individual who was targeted by the harassment.
Do Employers Have to Exercise Their Right to Seek An Injunction?
If you notify your employer of harassment in the workplace, your employer is required to take action in order to put an end to this conduct. However, this does not mean that employers are required to seek an injunction on your behalf. Filing a petition for an injunction is certainly an option, but it’s not the only one. Employers may feel that other options—such as taking disciplinary action against the harasser—are more appropriate. Employers have a right to decide whether seeking an injunction is appropriate on a case-by-case basis. They cannot be held liable for harassment solely because they chose not to exercise their right to seek an injunction. However, they can be held liable if they failed to do anything to stop the harassment.
Have you been harassed in the workplace? If so, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our experienced attorneys aggressively fight to protect your workplace rights. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.