It is hard to find the correct words surrounding what occurred at Penn State and the way it was handled by Coach Joe Paterno and those around him. To categorize the action taken by Coach Paterno as a mistake is a tremendous understatement. It is terrible to see him go down like that, especially after he surpassed Coach Eddie Robinson’s record a few weeks ago. That said the Penn State case highlights lessons for business owners and managers in the handling of complaints of harassment. The following excerpts come from the Business Management Daily.
One HR lesson is obvious: Employers can never ignore reports of misconduct or harassment by employees against anyone—co-workers, clients or anyone on the premises.“It is not a defense for you to bury your organizational head in the sand and hope that it will all be gone when you emerge into the sunlight,” says attorney Jon Hyman, a partner with Kohrman Jackson & Krantz in Cleveland … But at what point does harassment cross the line into something more serious (like assault) that requires an employer to call to the police? When should you—or must you—make that call?“’Should’ is a broader answer than ‘must,’” says Hyman. “When children are involved, as in the Penn State story, moral obligations far outweigh legal obligations. Employees should put themselves in the shoes of victim’s family.”