Q: When an employee has reported another employee to the police for a non-work-related activity, what is the employer’s liability?
A: If the employee in question has not done anything illegal or against company policy in the workplace, the employer is not required to take any action. However, the concern may be that the workplace may become a charged environment between these two employees.
The employer should monitor the environment at work, focusing on job performance and productivity, while remaining aware of the possibility of existing conflict between the two employees that may create a hostile environment or a distraction for those working nearby.
If either individual creates a conflict in the workplace, the employer should address it immediately and counsel the offender. Written documentation of any event should occur.
An employee whose behavior is questionable outside of the workplace may not be disciplined or singled out by the employer. However, the employer has the responsibility to ensure that no employee is subjected to a hostile work environment and will want to be aware of any conflict amongst the individuals. Additionally, no action should occur until such time as an employee is convicted of any alleged complaint, nor should any perceived act of retaliation exist.
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