What? Happened When? To Whom? Let’s Talk about Harassment.

What? Happened When? To Whom? Let’s Talk about Harassment.

Dear Fran,

In light of the “ME TOO” movement, we had an outside consultant conduct harassment training sessions for all our employees. Since that happened, I am being inundated with complaints from employees of behaviors in the workplace. Some are concerning, as they sound like sexual harassment by one of our managers. Some just sound like petty gossip and people not getting along. Do I really need to do a full investigation of every complaint?

Overwhelmed

Dear Overwhelmed,

Yes, there are times when an employee complains about a workplace situation that does not fall under the definition of harassment or discrimination. Take some time to review the legal definition of sexual harassment, discrimination and what constitutes a claim that your area EEOC or Human Rights Commission would consider worthy of investigating.

However, even if the complaint does not rise to the level of the legal definitions it is still one of those icky, sticky people issues that need to be acknowledged and dealt with internally.

If you do have an issue that falls under legal guidelines you can either contact a consultant or have your employment attorney enter the picture and perform the investigation. You can also do the preliminary investigation with their ongoing advice. If you have not done an investigation before, I strongly urge you to attend training and do some research on what constitutes a complete investigation. One thing you cannot do – ignore the complaints.

Sincerely,

Fran