What Does it Mean When an Employer is ‘On Notice’?

Learning Minutes


Hi, I'm Linda Garrett with a Kantola Learning Minute. Someone recently asked, "I've heard people talk about employers being 'on notice'. What exactly does that mean?"



Transcript:
Hi, I'm Linda Garrett with a Kantola Learning Minute.

Someone recently asked, "I've heard people talk about employers being 'on notice'. What exactly does that mean?"

Well, in the context of discrimination and harassment cases, being on notice means that the employer should have, or in fact did, know enough facts about a problem that it should have taken immediate action to protect it's employees from unlawful behavior. So, for example, an employer is "on notice" when it suspects that there is a problem, even if the employer decides to ignore it until it gets worse. And, an employer is "on notice" when an employee comes forward and brings a complaint to their supervisor or the HR department.

It is not a defense to say that the employee did not put it in writing or failed to use the right complaint form. Once a complaint is brought to the attention of a manager or supervisor, the employer is deemed to be "on notice", which is why internal protocols should be in place that assures that a complaint, once lodged, is immediately forwarded to the proper desk for handling. At this point, it is no defense for an employer to say it didn't know about the problem. A manager who doesn't take every complaint seriously, and instead waits until the problem gets worse, may face liability for harm going back to the time they were first on notice about the problem. That is why prompt action is essential.

I hope this helps. Thanks for joining us for this Kantola Learning Minute.

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