You are here:

Employment Law/Sexual Harrassment in the Workplace


As an employer in Michigan, I am wondering what my legal responsibility is in a situation where a male employee texted a sexually descriptive messate from his personal cell phone to a female employees personal cell phone whom are both employees of mine? He also followed the text message the next day with pictures of his private parts.
    Note:  The texts were not sent during working hours, they were over two consecutive nights.
    The female has a work relationship with the male and does not feel threatened by him.  She told him that this was inappropriate and asked him to stop - and he has so far.
    As an employer I want and need to do what is ethically and legally right.  I am looking for some insight into how to handle this situation.  Thank you!

as Human Resources if it is brought to your attention you are required to take action on it.  This is done off work hours and not on work premises.  even so, it still must be addressed.

There are a couple of ways I would look at to address this matter, depending on the company.

if it is where you can have a departmental meeting or staff meeting you could mention that it has been brought to my attention that there has been some inappropriate use of cell phone which may have resulted in a possible sexual harrassment incident.  it will not be tolerated at our company and anyone caught using the cell phone or any media to harrass another employee will be terminated immediately.  if there is anything anyone wishes to discuss wapiti me concerning this I will be in my office.

you could also bring in someone to do a training session for all employees on sexual harrassment. As part of the training  You can even do it I company with the help of videos which you can buy inexpensively online. during the introduction of the training you can let them know what the company policy is and that no type of sexual harrassment will be tolerated.

The alternative would be to speak to the male employee and let him know that his activities although off work are not okay because both of you are emploees.  The downside of that is he will know that she told you and it could make it too uncomfortable for them to work together.  also it does not address the other employees or improper cell phone use.  If one employee does it than others may be doing it as well.

You need to rewrite your policy to include improper cell phone use asnd social media use if you have not already done so. The new policy could be given at the staff meeting as a prelude to the meeting or the training.


Employment Law

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Shirley McAllister, CPP, PHR


I can answer questions about payroll laws and payroll tax laws and Human Resource laws and agencies. I can answer federal payroll and human resource law questions and most states; I do not have a knowledge of the local taxes for cities and counties within the state. If and when I can I will try and send you the website where you can reference the answer and where you can obtain more information as well as a contact number if needed for that particular agency. Some agencies I have worked with are IRS, Department of Labor (federal and state), Revenue Canada (and provincial governments), Inland Revenue, OSHA (0ccupational Safety and Health Administration); Social Security Administration and National Child Support as well as other agencies in Payroll and Human Resources. Some Laws I am particularly familiar with are FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act ) , QDRO's, QMCSO's, and other support orders and garnishments, USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Remployment Rights Act,PPA Act (Pension Protection Act of 2006, As well as most other employment type acts. I am also well versed in the Title V Civil Rights Act and the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).


30 years in Payroll and Human Resources

SHRM (Society of Human Resources) APA (American Payroll Association) DOLEA (Department of Labor Employers Association) CPA (Canadian Payroll Association) NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) The Mentoring Network

PHR Certification in Human Resources CPP Certification in Payroll in U.S. Payroll Administrator and Payroll Supervisor certification in Canada

©2016 All rights reserved.