You probably take great pains to avoid hiring problematic employees. A worker with a bad attitude or discriminatory behavior toward other staff members could be a massive source of liability for your business.
If one of your workers alleges that one of their colleagues harassed them, then your company will need to take action. If you don’t, then the victim may be able to hold you responsible for failing to protect them from a hostile work environment.
In addition to having a written policy making it clear your company does not tolerate harassment or discrimination, you’ll also want to have a plan for what happens if someone brings a complaint so that your business can protect itself and its workers.
Give people a straightforward process to follow
One of the smartest things that your company can do is to have a written policy regarding reporting allegations of harassment, discrimination or abuse on the job. Often, the standard process involves speaking directly with a member of management or the human resources team.
However, companies usually need to have a secondary option to report if someone involved in receiving or analyzing those reports winds up implicated in the harassment allegations.
Prioritize investigating and protecting those who make reports
Even if you trust the worker accused of misconduct, your business should investigate every claim so that no one can allege that you failed to protect them or take their reported experience seriously.
You may need to temporarily move someone accused of misconduct to a different department or place them on administrative leave. Having transparent records regarding the investigation and its resolution can help your company fight back against claims that you didn’t handle allegations appropriately.
Sexual harassment claims can be very costly for a business if not handled appropriately from the earliest report, so having a proactive policy can help keep your business safe from unfounded and potentially expensive allegations. Adhering to the policy can protect you if an investigation substantiates the harassment claims.