One of the main roles of a company management is to protect their employees, however, this is often forgotten due to the other primary actions and tasks needed to be done each day. Due to the disregarded responsibility of these companies, harassment and discrimination have been evidently playing around in the workplace of some employees.
Aside from bullying and racial discrimination, sexual harassment has become the most common type of assaulting an employee. Not only women are the victims of this type of harassment, but also men and other genders present in the office and corporation. Human resource and security personnel must do their jobs before a harassment complaint will be filed in front of them. To handle and address a sexual harassment complaint, the company must do the following:
- Post notices and information. Do not wait until a complaint has been filed before the company will inform the employees about the particular steps to file a work harassment complaint. There must be a precautionary measure done by visibly informing the employees that will be a zero percent of toleration for company harassment and bullying. This way, the harassers will know that the company takes harassment as a serious case regardless of the authority and position that a harasser currently has.
- Assign a personnel. Though there are security guards and counselors working in the company, there should always be that specific person whose focus is to manage people who are the victims of harassment and help them solve their situation. This person must be knowledgeable about legalities and should be professional in the field of handling victims.
- Construct an action plan. The plan to be mandated in the company must be approved by the board members and should promote enough equality between the victim and the accused. Action plans should contain a step-by-step and well-detailed guide for employers and employees for resolving bullying issues and maintaining an orderly workplace. This may include specific dates for giving out functional behavior assessment forms to the employees to allow the management in determining who among the people working in the company needs help and needs counseling.
- Demand for a report. In the event that an employee has been harassed and went to one of the company authorities for his complaints, he must be able to write down a detailed incident report and file the document whenever he is done. The report must be submitted as soon as the action happened in order to have a strong proof and to omit to have a delay in handling the case.
- Listen to the victim. The best person that a victim can talk to is an expert or professional counselor. This person should listen with an open mind to the victim and take down notes about how he reacted to the harassment, his voice tone, and his body language. Most sexual harassment victims have depression and stress anxiety, even fear, as a result of being harassed.
- Send a response. After a counseling session, the management must inform the victim that his case will be professionally handled by sending a formal letter. This response, however, must be supported by schedules of what will be done as part of the resolution and when these actions will be expected to happen.
- Inform the accused. Informing the accused employee about the case should be done with assurance and security that he will not be doing any further harm to the victim due to the report. A notice to employee may be sent to him as a letter that states the details of why he is receiving the notice and his rights of defending himself in a legal way.
- Assure equal rights. The victim should not only be the main concern of the management but also the accused since there will be a high possibility that he will take steps to put the victim in silence. By assuring both parties that they will be receiving equal treatment from the management, both may equally fight their way in protecting and defending themselves through gathering enough proof and pieces of evidence.
- Look for witnesses. Aside from video records of a company’s closed-circuit television camera, an employee who has seen the incident may stand as a strong proof or as a witness for one of the parties to the case. These witnesses must completely write a witness statement about what they saw, who they have seen, and what actually happened based on their perspective. The management should assure the witnesses that they will be fully protected, including their employment, from facing risks and dangers except when they are proved that they have been stating false accusations and stories to support a party.
- Do an investigation. With the aid of the gathered incident reports, evidence, and statements, the management must hire an investigator to acquire a thorough investigation about the violence happening in the company. The investigator must be a person who has a pure stand and should not be vulnerable to bribery and biased-decisions.
- Consult with an attorney. Another person who will serve a huge purpose and help in solving a case of harassment is an attorney. Similar to the investigator or detective, the attorney should be a professional person and has a legal license of handling cases. The management must sign an independent contractor agreement for both the detective and the attorney in order to lay down their responsibilities, obligations, and their labor payments.
- Plan for a decision. The decisions must be supported with the thoughts of the attorney, proofs from both parties, statements of the witnesses, and pieces of evidence from the detective.
- Engage disciplinary actions. The only the accused will be the expected person to receive an employee disciplinary action but also the victim if he is proved that he had been falsely giving out a fantasy story and not factual words on his report.
The pieces of evidence and all the legal forms must be kept with full confidentiality by the management to assure a good record keeping and to have future basis whenever this paperwork will be needed. Nonetheless, these listed ways do not limit to a sexual harassment case but also to all actions of any employee which are deemed as accountable for hurting and harming the people in the company.
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