Do Florida Employees Have To Prove Something Offensive Was Said Or Done?
Do Florida Employees Have To Prove Something Offensive Was Said Or Done? Florida employment law attorney and Bloodworth Law partner J. Kemp Brinson addresses the issue.
Kemp said “this brings up two questions:”
#1: Does The Offended Employee Need Proof?
“Question One: Does the employee who is offended have to have proof?
“Question Two: Why? For what purpose?”
Kemp said, “the answer is, well, it depends.
“If the employee has alleged that this occurred and the employee has no proof of it other than ‘I heard it,’ and the person they accuse of it denies it, what should the employer do in that situation?”
Proof Isn’t The Issue
The answer Kemp said he “would typically give is that the employer shouldn’t just assume it didn’t happen and do nothing. And should instead say, ‘listen, we don’t have proof, but you say that it happened. And you say it didn’t. We don’t know who’s right. We have no evidence to know who’s right. But what we do know is if that comment had been made, that would be inappropriate’.”
Document The Situation
Kemp explained that the employment dispute or complaint process starts with careful documentation.
“What we’re going to do is instruct the person who is accused of it,” he said. “And we’re going to document for the file that we said, ‘Listen, we don’t know that you said this before. It doesn’t matter.’
It Shouldn’t Happen Here
“What we do want to make sure that’s very clear, is that we better not hear that you ever did say this again.
“So, you’re not getting punished now. You’re not going to lose pay. You’re not getting demoted. But, we are documenting for the file that we made it clear that that type of conduct would not be appropriate — if it’s happening here — and we need to make sure it doesn’t happen here.”
The Employer’s Burden: Prevention
Kemp said, “that the employer has arguably done everything that can be done to prevent it from happening again, which is the employer’s burden.”
Do Not Use This Article As An Example
Kemp and the Bloodworth Law employment law team note that “each employee dispute is different. Details are unique, so you can’t read online or use comments made in this article, for example, and use it in your employment situation.”
The Bloodworth Law Employment Team
Attorney L. Reed Bloodworth is the Founder and CEO of Bloodworth Law. The Orlando, Florida, and Winter Haven, Florida, law firm handles employment litigation for Florida employers and works Florida employees.
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