While it may not always be the first item on their agenda, business officials must find time to document a specific business continuity plan that addresses preventative measures for a number of potentially problematic issues including disaster recovery, workplace violence prevention and sexual harassment. Failing to think ahead regarding these items may leave business officials facing major fiscal sanctions.
Illustrating the reality of the consequences that follow in the wake of poor business continuity planning, officials representing Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento, California, were recently handed down a judgement from the appointed jury requiring the facility to pay a total of $167 million.
According to reports, Ani Chopourian, who was formerly employed by the facility as a physician's assistant, encountered repeated instances of sexual harassment from the other staff members who touched her inappropriately, made degrading remarks regarding her Armenian heritage and vocalized graphic details of their sex lives.
Though Chopourian made repeated complaints to the hospital's human resources department, her superiors became aggressive toward her and ultimately chose to terminate her contract rather than taking steps to solve the problem.
Consequently, Chopourian filed suit against the facility, which was penalized with $125 million in punitive damages and forced to pay $42.7 million to Chopourian in various damages.
For facilities interested in taking steps to avoid the legal ramifications surrounding such harmful corporate practices, it would be wise to hire the services of a business continuity consultant experienced in sexual harassment prevention.
It may also benefit interested facilities to send representatives to the Continuity Insights Management Conference 2012 taking place in Scottsdale, Arizona, from April 16 to 18. At the conference, facility officials can learn from experienced professionals the best practices of instituting preventative programs that will educate all personnel on the dangers that may manifest when a business is not prepared to handle a range of emergency circumstances, including cases like Chopourian's.