Employer lessons from Penn State (Hint: ignorance is not bliss)

This Jerry Sandusky situation is blood curdling. I won’t rehash the facts. But in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, you can read about them here.

I am not going to comment on Penn State’s moral compass. Rather, as a labor-and-employment-law attorney, I see plenty of lessons for employers. Let’s just focus on three simple ones:

  1. Take complaints seriously. Always. Fortunately, most employers do. Those who don’t appear to condone the behavior. 
  2. If the behavior is criminal, immediately contact the police. By doing nothing, you give the actor both time and impunity to harm others.
  3. Do something about the complaint. Investigate and follow with action that is reasonably designed to ensure that the offensive behavior does not happen again. If the offensive behavior is serious enough, fire fast.
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