How to Handle Workplace Harassment: Tips for Supervisors

How to Handle Workplace Harassment: Tips for Supervisors

Supervisors are the most immediate people that employees go to when it comes to employment-related concerns. As such, the supervisors attend to whatever concerns their subordinates have; and, most importantly, do it in the most professional way possible.

Airing such workplace concerns is one of the employment rights that every employee is entitled to exercise.

What to Do when Harassment Claims are Raised

  1. Carefully document everything. If there are guidelines to follow, conform to such.
  1. If an employee approaches you regarding a harassment complaint, be sure to document all specific information. Also, see to it that you have the basic details–the who, what, when, where, and how of the complaint.
  1. Advise the complainant to inform the harasser to stop its provocations in case the conduct conveys unwanted attention. The alleged harasser is probably unaware that the attention is unwanted; hence, telling him or her to stop is very important.
  1. Talk with the alleged harasser and get the other side of the story. Carefully listen and ponder on his or her version. Do not disregard the possibility of misinterpretations, but do not be easily deceived or swayed as well.
  1. Interview other employees. Ask them about their observations regarding the alleged harasser’s actions as well as the complainant’s.
  1. If the incident is of a very serious nature, and included coarse exposure, touching or assault, you have to call the police and advise the victim to avoid seeing the harasser. Nevertheless, regardless of the extent, you have to make warnings with accompanying notice of disciplinary action.
  1. Terminate employment if the event persists despite your warnings. Keep all documents about the situation and maintain confidentiality.
  1. Be rational, calm, and systematic. Stand up for everything you have said and be firm with your decisions. In the event that the case is elevated to a court trial, you must show up and disclose whatever information is needed for the resolution of the case. However, you should know when to reveal confidential matters and when to withhold them.
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