Sexual Harassment in the workplace – Why Prevention is the Key


In the workplace, the relationship between the employer and employee is one that must be built on a foundation of trust. Without the proper expectations and leadership, employees can find themselves in compromising situations that lead to adverse outcomes. As our society emerges into one with technology at the forefront, we are now witnesses to the behind-the-scenes of organizations that fail to prioritize the safety of its employees. Media coverage allows a level of transparency that once did not exist. In many ways, this shift allows for the normalizing of positive, transparent, and safe work environments. The responsibility placed on organizations to hold high standards of respect and communication is great but fosters an environment of security and productivity.

A recent case in sports news exemplifies the areas in which preventative policies and programs within a company are critical for creating a culture of excellence and care.  On Monday, August 16, The Los Angeles Kings, an NHL team, splashed the front pages of new sites as Tim Smith, the senior manager of game presentation and events as well as the team’s mascot, was accused of misconduct in a sexual harassment lawsuit. To add insult to injury, the former employee, who filed the lawsuit, had resigned only to be convinced by upper management to stay in her position. After this, however, the harassment continued. In 2018, a man sued Smith in a harassment suit for allegedly grabbing him inappropriately in an elevator. The LA Kings employed Smith at the time of this previous case–something that could have and should have been taken into consideration.

The primary concern in this particular case is that Tim Smith had a past with sexual harassment that was not addressed by his employer. Without proper conduct training and appropriate processes in place, both the individual and the organization are put in a dangerous position. The knowledge of Smith’s history and an allegation that was not taken seriously, nor sent through the appropriate channels, leaves the organization open to liability.  There were several things that the Kings could have and should have done to avoid such a terrible situation.

At First Response, we value facilitating healthy, ethical working environments that limit liability.  First Response works with companies to help mitigate issues similar to the situation the LA Kings faced. We offer several programs and features that work towards preventing conditions before they arise, also, to help manage them if they do occur.  One of these programs is our Defensible Harassment Program, which includes conduct training, customized documentation, employee hotline, and investigations. At First Response, we work to provide preventative measures, in addition to assisting with resolutions to complaints. Safe work environments are a critical piece of successful businesses, something we here at First Response will make our priority so that you can rest a little easier.

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