How should an employer handle an employee or supervisor who has caused or contributed to a hostile work environment?

Author: William Denham

An employer should take swift, clear, and even-handed action to impose discipline an employer or supervisor who has caused or contributed to a hostile work environment.

The appropriate punishment will depend on the circumstances (including, e.g., past conduct of the parties, the level of "contribution" by the employee to the hostile work environment, the steps necessary to make the complaining employee feel comfortable). At an absolute minimum, the wrongdoer should receive a final written warning.

The employer should uphold its written policy that it will have zero tolerance for a hostile work environment and enforce it uniformly. Disciplinary actions should be in accordance with the employer's policy as stated in the employee handbook.