Workers in Iowa are protected from harassment under the law. While this is generally perceived to be linked to sexual harassment, there are numerous other ways in which a worker can be harassed. People who are facing this treatment might realize early on that they have the right to seek compensation in a legal filing, but they are often unaware of how liability is determined. Knowing when the employer is liable for harassment that happened at the workplace can be a foundational issue when considering a legal filing over harassment.
When there is a supervisor or manager who involves what is known as a “tangible job action” into the harassment, then there is employer liability. Examples of tangible job action include the worker being hired, fired, denied a promotion, not given a raise and other aspects that will affect the job. If there is harassment by a supervisor or a manager and the issue is related to a hostile work environment, the employer will be liable unless it is shown that there was reasonable care taken to prevent and formulate a remedy to the harassment and the person who alleges he or she was being harassed failed to use corrective or preventative ways to avoid harm. If there is harassment by a supervisor or manager, the alleged harasser might be liable as an individual along with the employer.
It is not always a superior who is alleged to be committing harassment. A co-worker, a person who is not an employee or some other person who is considered an outsider can commit harassment. The employer will be liable if it was known or should have been known that the harassment was taking place and nothing was done in a prompt manner. Co-workers can be held liable as individuals for damages the harassment caused.
For workers in Iowa who believe they have been subjected to any form of harassment not just by a supervisor or manager, but also by co-workers or people who are not even employed at the job, there is a right to exercise their employee rights and seek compensation for harassment. A legal professional who is experienced in cases involving harassment, workplace discrimination and other areas of employment law can help with moving forward.
Source: icrc.iowa.gov, “ICRC FactSheet — Harassment in the Workplace: It’s Against the Law — Employer Liability,” accessed on April 9, 2018