How much harassment is too much, so that we could or should discipline an employee in a position of power?

There are federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination against protected categories, such as race, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, workers who want to form a union, and persons convicted of a crime. The list of protected categories expands as discrimination expands.

Discrimination is more than harassment (if you do not sleep with me, if you do not date me … you will not get hired; you will get fired; you will not receive a raise; or the work duties you will be assigned will be less interesting). 

Discrimination is any action that adversely effects an employee, job applicant or prospective resident based upon the person’s protected category.

We do not hire, and we do not admit applicants seeking services or rent, or sell to persons based upon a protected category. 

Employers can be found liable for the actions of their supervisors who discriminate against a person based on a protected category in the hiring, firing, promotion or any other adverse action in the workplace.

The same protections could apply to persons in protected categories who seek services from a provider. If you have a policy that prohibits discrimination, you should state it in your employee and resident handbook. 

You should hold seminars so the supervisors and the employees are informed as to what courts or government agencies that enforce the laws have found to be discriminatory actions or prohibited conduct. 

The policy should state that anyone who violates the policy is subject to discipline, including discharge. If you have a policy that prohibits discrimination, you must enforce it.