Employer Lessons From Penn State (Hint: Ignorance Is Not Bliss)

By Eric B. Meyer

This Jerry Sandusky situation at Penn State is blood curdling. I won’t rehash the facts. But in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, you can read about them and what is going on with the Penn State football program here.

I am not going to comment on Penn State’s moral compass. Rather, as a labor-and-employment-law attorney, I see plenty of lessons for employers.

Let’s just focus on three simple ones:

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  1. Take complaints seriously. Always. Fortunately, most employers do (as Laurie Ruettimann points out). Those who don’t appear to condone the behavior.
  2. If the behavior is criminal, immediately contact the police. By doing nothing, you give the actor both time and impunity to harm others.
  3. Do something about the complaint. Investigate and follow with action that is reasonably designed to ensure that the offensive behavior does not happen again. If the offensive behavior is serious enough, fire fast.

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.


You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (www.TheEmployerHandbook.com), which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.