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How should harassment and discrimination complaints be handled?

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2024 | Employment Law |

Reports of harassment or discrimination must be handled seriously by the company. It often takes a lot of thought for employees to make these complaints because they may worry about how it will impact their work environment and if their complaints will be believed. 

While being concerned about the effects is understandable, retaliation is strictly forbidden. This means that employers can’t take negative employment actions because of one of these complaints. 

Have an established process

Employers should have an established process for taking and investigating these complaints. Ideally, this will include a dedicated person to take complaints, but employees should be empowered to report the issue to any supervisor or administrative professional. 

The investigation process should include a complete review of facts. This must be done without placing the blame on the person who’s being accused of these actions and without making it seem like the alleged victim is to blame. 

Separate involved parties

It can be very uncomfortable for the person who filed the complaint and the person who’s accused of improper behavior to have to continue to work together. It’s a good idea to separate them, but this can’t be done in a way that makes it seem like the person who’s accused is being punished before the investigation is over. 

It’s critical that companies always take these matters seriously. Employees shouldn’t ever have to deal with harassment or discrimination. When employers don’t address these complaints sufficiently, the employee may opt to pursue legal action. At that point, both sides should obtain legal assistance to ensure they know their rights and responsibilities.