An employer can be liable for third-party harassment of its employees if the employer has knowledge of the harassment and fails to take action to prevent the illegal behavior. According to the EEOC, Fred Meyer knew a customer repeatedly made lewd comments to female employees at its store in Oak Grove, and was aware of multiple incidents when this customer touched, grabbed and cornered employees, yet failed to take action to stop the harassment – even after the behavior was captured on store security videotape. Fred Meyer’s inaction is particularly surprising, since in 2005, the company settled a prior sexual harassment case at the same store for $485,000. http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/5-5-14a.cfm
Bottom line: Employers must take action to stop harassment of employees by customers and other third-parties, just as they would to stop illegal behavior by employees.