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Florida hospice fights sexual harassment claims

News stories that describe sexual harassment litigation are often eye catching. The articles are rife with accusations of suggestive comments and inappropriate subject matter in the workforce. At first glance, it is tempting to believe the allegations, but it is critical to remember that there are two sides to every story, and not all employees tell the truth. Oftentimes, employees have motives to exaggerate or even falsify stories about their co-workers or supervisors.

Florida residents may have seen the recent business litigation filed by three female hospice workers who claim that certain male employees and managers were negligently supervised. They allege that the men used crude language in reference to female body parts, told offensive jokes, and spoke of their sexual desire in the workplace. The workers further allege they were wrongfully discharged in retaliation for bringing the situation to management's attention. Representatives from the hospice strongly denied the claims and expressed a zero tolerance policy for sexual discrimination.

The headlines in this case certainly do not tell the whole story and serve to tarnish the hospice's good name. In fact, the hospice may be convinced that it will prevail on the sexual harassment claim in court. Otherwise, the hospice could have quietly settled the case in 2012 when it first learned of the complaint filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations. Any company faced with claims of employment discrimination may want to consult with legal counsel in order to present the strongest possible defense. It will be necessary to utilize all available resources to counter any unfair charges.

Source: The Palm Beach Post, "Lawsuit claims sex jokes, harassment of female hospice employees," Charles Elmore, April 2, 2013

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