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Workplace harassment — Arizona

Harassment can be difficult to define. A comment addressed to one employee may be utterly harmless, while a similar comment addressed to another employee, especially if it is repeated, may subject the employer to legal liability.

Further complicating this tangled web of law is the complex approach required to respond to and remedy alleged harassment. Recently in the context of sexual harassment, we have seen more answers to the proverbial question of “what is to be done with the alleged harasser?” But generally speaking, employers are witness, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner with each allegation of workplace sexual misconduct. The law requires the employer to take corrective action to ensure harassment will never occur again. The employer may face a lawsuit from the victim and the alleged harasser who is subsequently terminated.

The duty to prevent harassment

An employer should take all steps necessary to prevent harassment from occurring, such as adopting a comprehensive anti-harassment policy, providing anti-harassment and respect at work training for its employees, affirmatively raising the subject, expressing strong disapproval, developing appropriate sanctions, informing employees of their right to raise and how to raise the issue of harassment, investigating...

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