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What to do when an employee reports harassment/discrimination

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2024 | Employment Discrimination |

If an employee makes a harassment or discrimination complaint, you should be extra careful about the steps you take. You want to handle the matter competently to protect the employee and prevent it from worsening. 

Here is how you can handle a harassment/discrimination complaint in your workplace:

Investigate the issue

It’s vital to investigate a harassment or discrimination complaint immediately. This way, your employee knows you have taken their case seriously.

To start your investigation, obtain adequate information from the complainant. Learn about the nature and extent of the case – how it happened, who was involved, where it happened, witnesses and so on. 

After obtaining these details, interview the accused party. You can keep the interview general – you don’t need to disclose the complainant’s name. You can simply ask about the incident that occurred on a certain day at a particular time. Ask them to narrate what happened, about the involved parties and so on.

After meeting with the complainant and the alleged harasser, interview the witnesses to discover details the former parties may have missed.

Collect adequate evidence

You need all the relevant evidence you can get to make an informed verdict. These include video footage, messages/emails, history of performance reports/corrective actions and so on.

With evidence from different sources, you can determine if the complaint is valid.

Be compassionate

Compassion is crucial when handling harassment/discrimination complaints in the workplace. The complainant should feel heard, but you should also not treat the accused as guilty before proving the complaint is valid. 

Take action

If the complaint is valid, take appropriate action by following your company’s policies and respective laws.

If an employee is unsatisfied with how you handled their harassment/discrimination complaint, legal guidance can help you determine the best way forward.