There will often be situations where a manager thinks or knows that harassment is occurring, but a complaint has not been filed. Or, an employee may come to the manager, and they may determine together that harassment is occurring, but the employee may choose not to file a complaint. The manager may even be hearing repeated gossip about harassment.
There are many reasons why a harassment victim may choose not to file a complaint. They may be afraid of their harasser, they may be worried about career implications, or they may worry about what their co-workers will think. Perhaps they can’t face the stress, or are embarrassed or ashamed. If a manager knows or thinks that harassment is occurring, they are obligated to face it. Even if the only proof they have is rumors, they must still investigate it.
If the harassment has become known to the manager through gossip or some second hand means, the manager should speak to the alleged victim. This should not be an interrogation or a meeting specifically about the harassment; it can be a general catch-up, “How are you?” sort of meeting. If the manager has some sort of evidence that harassment may be taking place, then s/he should initiate a formal complaint. The incident can then be investigated and dealt with under normal procedures. The investigator should send a letter to the victim detailing the complaint and the process that will be followed.
Remember, it is always best to err on the side of caution. Turning a blind eye to a potential harassment problem can open your company up to lawsuits.
Author: Matthew Coppola, Managing Director of Client Centric.
Client Centric – Executive Employment Solutions are a boutique employment services company specialising in executive and managerial level roles. We are committed to helping you succeed in your career and to do this we have the best staff on board to help you reach your goals. Our team are highly experienced and knowledgeable in a broad range of areas and expertise, so you get the best advice. We service clients all over Australia including Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Hobart. We provide Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, LinkedIn Profiles, Addressing Selection Criteria’s and we also offer a Job Application Service where we apply for jobs on your behalf and all you do is wait for the call. Please visit our website at www.clientcentric.com.au to find out more.
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