What you do before a harassment or workplace violence complaint ever happens plays a big role in what happens when it does.
Among the things that an investigator will look for, in addition to the facts around a harassment complaint, are things that, as an employer you can take care of in advance.
Have a good policy in place.
Take the high road here. Many organizations look for the easy way out, thinking that if they buy that cheap policy on line and add it to their handbook they are covered. This is not the case. When an investigator looks at your policy they will be looking to see if it meets the standard set out in case law.
Have a solid process to follow in the event of a complaint.
That’s right, they are not the same thing, your policy is high-level overall statement that lays out your organizations position on the issue. Your process is how you will deal with a complaint should it arise. For example who to contact, how to contact them, what to do if the person you are supposed to contact is the one you are filing the complaint about, and where to get further information if needed.
Do the training right.
This is another area that we see our clients getting caught. Yes you can by a 30-minute on line training course but don’t expect that it will protect you if you end up in front of a tribunal or in court. Invest the time and effort up front to make sure that your staff understand the policy, the back ground for it’s existence, the process to follow if they have a complaint and that they sign off that they have reviewed it and understand it.
These are just a few of the things that an investigator will look for when investigating a harassment complaint in a workplace. They are easy to look after in advance and will save you a lot of time, effort and headaches if there is a complaint.
Rick Filsinger CHRP, CHRL, PI.