How to Respond to Workplace Harassment

Businesses and companies of all sizes and industries are now more aware of and more cautious about discrimination and harassment complaints. These claims can lead to workplace tension and even costly legal issues. If the complaint is mishandled, even without intention, this can lead to even more trouble in the form of shutting a business down amid a compromised corporate reputation.

Companies should hands-down take any and all complaints seriously and follow careful steps to dealing with them. One step is to invest in regional insurance coverage including a Carmel Business Owner Policy to protect against legal liabilities. But another step is to ensure your employees you are taking all complaints seriously, thus bolstering transparency. The intention is reduce the likelihood of a lawsuit while also reassuring your employees they can trust you. Here are some basic ways in which a harassment complaint should be handled from the top-down.

Respect the Employee(s)

It takes a lot for someone who has felt discriminated against or harassed to make a complaint known. They can be vulnerable and afraid of issues like facing retaliation for coming forward. This can have an impact on the quality of their work and can lead them to take steps for legal counsel if they don’t feel their complaint was taken seriously or even considered. Make sure to be understanding and have an open mind, enough to investigate any and all elements of a complaint.

Don’t Retaliate

As mentioned above, some employees who are the victims of harassment feel that if they bring a complaint to someone then they will lose their job or be docked work or pay. It should be promoted that your company doesn’t do this, and instead follows the law about not punishing employees for making a claim.

Get Educated

Be sure to be kept abreast of the law of discrimination and harassment in your state and surrounding area. It makes a big difference knowing exactly what’s at stake legally for your company when someone either brings a claim to attention or seeks legal help against your company when they feel they have grounds to do so.

Follow Established Procedures

All companies should have a handbook in place or other documented policies relating to discrimination and harassment. This can act as a guide for familiarizing yourself with policies and keep unfair treatment claims at bay.

Open Communication

A big step is to talk to the person who complained and find out exactly what their concerns are. Get the detail down about what happened and when. Make sure to take diligent notes and talk to any employees who are being accused of discrimination or harassment. Get the finite details from them as well so you make sure it’s not a one-sided conversation.

Look for Contradiction or Corroboration

To avoid a he-said/she-said occurrence, it’s important to make sure stories line up after speaking with all involved. There may be different versions of what was said and done, so being able to compare side-by-side notes and find out the truth will help you determine what actually happened.

Document It All

While keeping these instances private is of value, you should also be sure to take notes during your interviews and go back through them. Keep a journal of your conversations and write down the steps you’ve taken already to get to the truth. Document any action taken against the accused or the reasons for deciding not to take action.

About Walker & Associates

If you’re in the market for a new insurance partner, do your homework to ensure a lucrative venture and positive relationship. Contact us online at Walker & Associates Insurance or by phone at (800) 213-7126 for your insurance needs. We can explain your coverage options and how much coverage will cost.