Problems in a business don’t just come from the customer complaints, they can also come from within the business itself. Managers and supervisors have to know how to deal with all the different types of complaints that they encounter from both their customers and their own employees.
However, there may be some employee complaints that involve them being harassed. Being harassed can have a serious negative effect on the employee as it leads to them being less productive, which will lessen the quality of their performance. And there’s also a chance that the employee might leave the company if the problem isn’t solved as soon as possible.
The Different Types of Workplace Harassment
It is important that employers learn of the different types so that they will be able to better understand and help them deal with the harassment complaints that come there way. So here are the examples of workplace harassment.
- Verbal Harassment. This is the most common type of harassment within the workplace and the first thing that comes to mind when it employers receive harassment complaints. Verbal harassment can include things like slurs, name calling, improper jokes, insults and more.
- Physical Harassment. It’s a less common kind of workplace harassment complaint, but when it does happen, there are often times wherein it can be very severe. So anything that involves physical contact such as hitting, pushing, groping any form of touching. Although, this is usually associated with sexual harassment, which is a very serious matter that needs to be looked into if an employee claims to have been sexually assaulted.
- Supervisor Harassment. This is one of the most intimidating types of harassment as it comes straight from the supervisor. Considering that supervisors can use their position of authority to be cruel and demean employees, it leaves the employee feeling trapped and vulnerable. There are multiple ways that a supervisor can continuously harass an employee. It can be anything from constantly screaming for making simple mistakes or even inappropriately touching the employee knowing that he or she can do nothing about it.
- Co-Worker Harassment. This is not the same in terms of being harassed by a supervisors, but this type of harassment complaint is nothing to ignore. It can be just as intimidating as it can lead to an intense atmosphere within the office that could potentially lead to something big. Considering that employees deal with their coworkers more often than with their supervisors, there is a higher chance that these problems could potentially ruin both of their careers at a faster pace than being harassed by a supervisor.
The Ten Vital Steps to Deal With Harassment Claims
While there are many cases of sexual harassment complaints or bullying within a particular workplaces, employers must find ways to deal with these kind of problems in a professional and dignified way. So here are the 10 steps that should definitely help employers deal with any harassment claims that come their way:
- Gather as much information as you can get. Whenever you receive any type of complaint, you are going to need to know everything about it before you can take any form of action. So see to it you get important details such as where it happened, how it happened, when it happened.
- Take down important notes regarding what was said or what was implied. This will be very helpful for when you need to verify these complaints to figure out which of the pieces of information are fact, and which were fabricated.
- Try to determine who was present when it occurred. This will give you an idea if there were any people that could create witness statements regarding the incident. Plus it will also help you know as to who were involved which might tell you which was the oppressor and which was the victim.
- Determine as to whether or not similar behavior have occurred, if so then gather all the pieces of important information and take note of all of them.
- Ask for evidence that will help prove the claim. The employee making the claim must provide you with things such as text messages, e-mails, or even pictures that will help justify the complaint. If there are none then verifying the complaint will prove to be more difficult.
- Ask the complaint, the employee who brought up the complaint, on everything that occurred within the time frame of when he or she was being harassed. Anything that was said or anything that was done can help as you can use this information as comparison with the testimonies of others who may have witnessed the harassment when it occurred.
- Ask the compliant to make notes of everything that he or she has experienced or witnessed. This can help determine the seriousness of the incident that occurred.
- Determine the effect it had on the employee. This will help you determine the kind of action that should be taken. So depending on how hard it affected the employee, you can either do something about it yourself, or instigate a full investigation regarding the matter.
- If a complaint investigation is required, then always use an independent investigator or an outsource. It is very important that the investigator has no relation whatsoever with the parties that are involved with the harassment claim. The reason being that there might be intentions of falsifying or withholding important information. So choose an independent investigator to ensure justice and fairness to all of those involved.
- Make sure that those who are involved are kept up to date. Inform them about everything that is going on regarding the matter such as the progress of the investigation regarding the harassment claim. This will prevent any kind of rumor from spreading in the workplace, because rumors might every well reduce the morale and productivity of those involved.
As an employer, you’re going to have to do everything you can to find out whether or not these claims are justifiable. And when they are, you are going to have to deal with them in a professional manner. So whether you’re addressing sexual harassment complaints or dealing with verbal ones, be sure to follow these steps to help you
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