IA Blog: What is the financial cost to a business of a Hostile Working Environment claim related to Pornographic images and videos?

Reading, UK – January, 2012 The answer to the question posed in the headline can of course vary greatly. According to one prominent Seattle Law Firm, the average cost to litigate a hostile-workplace or sexual harassment claim is $250,000 and the average cost to settle a claim is almost 10 times that amount.

Three recent news articles give an insight into the financial risk that businesses expose themselves to by failing to implement Image Analyzer powered technology and having a suitable acceptable use policy relating to pornographic images and videos.

“$636K paid out in county harassment suits” (1)- Employees at a Sante Fe Youth Development Program successfully sued their employer for claims ranging from sexual harassment to retaliation. The facility clearly had significant issues and it was alleged that a”boys club was running the show”where it was alleged, according to the article that”supervisors were misbehaving, including that they were looking at Internet porn in the offices, exchanging lewd emails and having sex at work”

California hospital settles harassment case for $530K (2)- According to the article in this case at least 10 women who worked at Garfield Medical Centre”were subjected to inappropriate touching, propositions for sex, graphic discussions and obscene images in the workplace by an emergency room worker”.The article goes on to state that as well as settling the case with the U.S Equal Opportunity Employment Commission it was also setting aside $100,000 for other victims who were yet to come forward.

Woman sales manager who endured porn in the office and new recruits chosen by their bra size wins £26,000 compensation (3)-In this UK case a woman alleged her workplace was like a ‘boys club’ and that despite complaining about the sexual harassment and intimidation she was subject to, the company management took no action.

In each of the above cases a clear enforceable acceptable use policy would have ensured that early preventative action could have been taken and the financial risk minimised.

Deploying an Image Analyzer powered solution on each PC in an office to scan and highlight images and videos of an inappropriate nature can cost as little as a few cents per month and with the consequences of not acting potentially costing hundreds of thousands of dollars it is negligent in the extreme to do nothing. In Image Analyser’s opinion we are finally beginning to see the true cost of the ‘elephant in the room’ which pornography in the workplace has been.

 

The San Diego Union-Tribune

 

Daily Mail