Maxine Neuhauser, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Newark office, was quoted in the Bloomberg Law Daily Labor Report, in “Employers Risk Liability If Customers Discriminate in Workplaces,” by J. Edward Moreno.

Following is an excerpt:

Employers may lean toward taking a hands-off approach when customers or other third parties exhibit discriminatory behavior in a workplace, but the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission takes a dim view of laissez-faire attitudes and will sue.

Case in point: A recent lawsuit the EEOC filed against a Vermont nursing home that it said allowed mostly White patients to subject Black nurses to racial harassment. The agency said the long-term care facility in Burlington, Vt., had allowed the patients to use racial slurs, among other harassing behavior.

“I do think there is an obligation to have policies in place for how you’re going to deal with the issue when it arises because you’ve got to know that it’s going to arise,” said Maxine Neuhauser, an attorney at Epstein Becker & Green PC. “Any employer should know that its employees are entitled to not be abused in the workplace.” …

Not addressing the discrimination at the nursing home violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the EEOC said, noting that it’s an employer’s responsibility to take “prompt and effective remedial action” to prevent discrimination in the workplace.

No ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Remedy

Neuhauser said general harassment complaint protocols could be useful for employers in addressing worker abuse by third parties.

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