What do you recommend to mitigate or deter harassment between or by employees or volunteers in our building?

Harassment covers a wide range of behaviors of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as conduct that demeans, humiliates or embarrasses a person.

It is characteristically identified by its unlikelihood in terms of social and moral reasonableness. In a legal sense it evolves from discriminatory ground and has an effect of impairing or nullifying a person from benefiting from their rights. 

To reduce or prevent harassment, you should publish in the employee and resident handbooks a clear statement  that you prohibit harassment and will discipline any person who violates the policy.

Discipline could include up to termination of employment or removal of the right of a person to volunteer. You should hold mandatory meetings that describe the policy and define what is prohibited. 

Define ageism or other offensive conduct to seniors and define what is sexual harassment between employees or between employees or volunteers and residents. In sexual harassment, the perpetrator has a power imbalance.

The supervisor who has the power to fire, discipline or assign work responsibility to a subordinate employee therefore has an imbalance of power. If the supervisor performs persistent and unwanted sexual advances, you should discipline or discharge the sexual harasser.

Similar misconduct toward a resident also could lead to discipline or discharge of an employee, or removal of the right of a person to volunteer. You have the legal right, and under some laws the legal duty, to protect the victims.

Please send your legal questions to John Durso at ltcnews@mcknights.com.