As workplaces strive to be more welcoming and inclusive across the board, there is an emphasis on dealing with allegations of harassment in an efficient manner. Not only does this send a positive message that employees will be protected from wrongdoing, it also ensures that the employer is fully compliant when it comes to laws and regulations regarding the handling of harassment claims. The Balance recommends doing the following when a claim of sexual harassment arises in a place of work.
The employee making the harassment claim must know that they won’t be retaliated against by firing or demotion. In fact, doing so is illegal and could result in a wrongful termination claim. The employee claiming harassment must also be provided an opportunity to relay his or her story. While information is being provided, the person responsible for fielding sexual harassment claims should document times, dates, witnesses, and other important factors to perform a thorough investigation.
The person accused of harassment must be informed as soon as possible. This person will also need to be interviewed in a fair and objective manner. Any witnesses to the event can also be interviewed at this point. Once enough information has been compiled, human resources will review it to make a determination. Having an attorney’s input is also recommended.
Of course, employers can also take steps to prevent sexual harassment from occurring in the first place. All workplaces must have comprehensive policies on sexual harassment, including how complaints can be made to management. These policies must be included within employee manuals and communicated to workers all throughout the organization. Additionally, employers must be proactive when allegations of sexual harassment arise. By investigating claims quickly, a workplace will show that the mistreatment of others will not be tolerated.