How to Respond to Accusations of Sexual Harassment from Your Employees?
As an organization, it is important that you protect the rights of your workers and provide solutions to their problems. One of the issues that may always arise is accusations of sexual harassment. In some cases, the allegations may be true, but in some instances, they may be false.
It is therefore your duty as the employer, manager or director to investigate thoroughly on the allegations. Based on your findings, you should be able to come up with a solution. For you to do so, you need some knowledge of how to do so. Below are some of the ways you can respond to allegations of sexual harassment from your employees.
1. Listen Carefully to the Allegations
As a decision maker, one quality you should have is to be a good listener who can listen and make wise judgments. When an employee approach you with an accusation regarding sexual harassment, you need to listen carefully to the allegations. By listening carefully and taking down some notes, the employee will feel accommodated and will be willing to share every bit of the information with you. Employees are more comfortable with people who can listen to their problems and offer solutions.
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2. Take an Immediate Action as the Investigation Proceeds
You need to take an immediate action even as the investigation is on. This is because failing to do so may lead to further issues within the workplace. This action is to be taken so the harasser doesn’t have the opportunity to further harass his or her workmate. Below are some of the measure you can take.
- Alter work arrangements so that the defendant doesn’t get the opportunity to interact with the plaintiff.
- Give the alleged harasser an immediate leave.
- Alter schedules.
3. Investigate Thoroughly the Complaint
You can investigate the allegations through comprehensive interviews, questionnaires etcetera. If there is need to hire a third party, it is best if you first consult the complainant. This is because he or she may want the issue to be private and not to be shared to anyone else. A third party may be better because he or she will act on a neutral ground most of the time.
4. Draw Reasonable Decisions
This may be challenging but you have to try to be as honest as possible. The victims may give contradictory stories making it difficult to judge whether the allegations of the harassment were true or not. The most important thing is to draw good conclusions and act in good faith.
5. Inform Both Parties of the Results
Once you have come up with the conclusions, it is best if you informed both the parties of the outcome. You can write letter to them informing them of how you carried the investigation and what came out as a result. There can only be two results; the harassment occurred or never occurred.
6. Take Appropriate Action
Once the parties have been informed, you should take action. If you found out that the action did occur, kindly take appropriate actions such as protecting the complainant from further harassment etcetera.
Harassment is not the right thing that should happen to employees at workplace. Workplace should be considered the center where serious work takes place – work should be the core business. Any harassment should be treated with caution.