Global HR Hot Topic - March 2013: Cross-Border Anti-Harassment Initiatives

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Challenge: A “zero tolerance” stand against illegal workplace harassment is laudable in US domestic operations. But wildly differing harassment laws and standards abroad complicate an inflexible global approach to eradicating workplace harassment.

US multinationals proactively ban illegal harassment across their operations worldwide. But the radically different harassment landscape outside the US seriously complicates global anti-harassment rules and training.

Harassment law in the US: Over the past few decades, American workplace harassment law has evolved into the most intricate body of harassment jurisprudence in the world. US federal and state court decisions in harassment cases now construe concepts as esoteric as a “tangible employment action requirement for vicarious liability” in quid pro quo harassment, an “affirmative defense of unreasonable failure to take advantage of preventive or corrective opportunities,” a “severe and pervasive requirement for hostile environment harassment” and claims of “implicit quid pro quo third-party harassment.”

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