Harassment by Non-employees falls under the Hostile Environment category of the federal law that governs harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
Hard to believe, but yes the government expects you to protect your employees from outside harassment. Sexual harassment by Non-employees is exactly what it sounds like.
Employees, who are harassed by customers, vendors, temp workers, outside contractors, etc. still retain their rights to a harassment-free workplace.
As an employer, you can not disregard the situation. The courts have upheld your responsibility in this area.
Remember : an employer must investigate and respond appropriately to the allegation even if it appears trivial or contrived.
It is also in the employer's best interest to take some action wherever the claim has substance or not. Document the incident, require additional training, etc.
In California, a plaintiffiff filed a non-employee s.ualual harassment claim because of her employer, International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), pressured her to resume a sexual relationship with a Defense Department official who had the authority to award IBM millions of dollars in project funding.
Award : $ 65,000 in monetary damages
Protect your business from this type of harassment. Make sure your employees are well-trained in harassment and discrimination prevention and awareness.