Harassment is illegal and the employer is liable, but the employer must be notified of the behavior. It is crucial that the act be reported. Most companies have a complaint or grievance process. If a process is unknown or does not exist, contacting a member of the human resources department or a supervisor is good option.
If you are a victim of harassment, follow these steps:
Approach the person directly and explain that their behavior is unacceptable. In certain situations, direct conversation is not easy. Writing a letter or email is perfectly acceptable. Make sure to keep a copy.
Write down any details about a harassment incident. Include the following information for each incident:
Report the incident, or incidents, to a supervisor or the company's human resources department immediately. Keep a record of any report you give. A formal complaint or grievance should be created by a member of the company's human resources department by gathering details from the victim. The company should then conduct an investigation.
The desired result after confronting the harasser and reporting it to the employer is that the harassment ends. If the behavior continues, or in situations where the harassment was severe, the victim may need to pursue further action.
If you are a witness to harassment, follow these steps:
The first step is to help the victim in any way possible. Some individuals who witness harassment taking place may step in and try to stop it immediately. This is not always possible, nor expected. The most important thing is to help the victim by teaching them the steps of reporting harassment and making sure they get help from a supervisor or the company's human resources department.
Help the victim through the appropriate steps:
Even after telling the victim what actions to take, it is important to report the incident yourself in case the victim does not. This places the liability on the company and ensures that you have assisted the victim in every possible way.
If you are a supervisor and an employee comes to you to report harassment, follow these steps:
Explain that he or she is in a safe environment to discuss these issues and thank them for coming forward. It can be scary and sometimes embarrassing reporting harassment. It is also very important that the victim know they are safe and will be protected from any backlash from the accused harasser or others in the company.
Also, maintain confidentiality and do not speak of the incident to others besides the human resources department.
Listen and take detailed notes regarding the harassment. Ask the victim if they have confronted their harasser yet and if they have kept any records of the incidents.
Depending on your company policy, either involve the human resources department or create the formal complaint yourself.
The formal complaint or grievance process includes interviewing:
Again, maintaining the victim's confidentiality is extremely important. The ultimate goals of the complaint process are:
After the company has performed an investigation, make sure a suitable resolution was reached for your employee.