Sexual harassment refers to any unwanted physical or verbal behavior related to sexual activities or gender roles. This act often occurs in the workplace, which can damage a company’s image. Even if sexual harassment policies are implemented in the company, this kind of act cannot be avoided. This is the reason why you should learn how to properly handle and respond to a sexual harassment complaint.
The following steps will help you learn how to respond to a sexual harassment charge in a professional, legal and ethical manner.
- Attend to the issue sincerely. Sexual harassment charges should not be taken lightly. This kind of incidents can cause so much damage to a company if not taken seriously. Let your employee know that you will handle the issue personally and that you will see to it that everything will be taken care of. This way, you will avoid getting a lawsuit and maintain the reputation of your company.
- Learn how to listen to the person who filed the complaint. When a person decides to talk to you about the complaint, make sure you will listen attentively and objectively to what the person has to say. Don’t ever give any opinion about the matter and just hear her out. This way, you will give an impression to your employees that you care about them and that the company is capable of protecting its employees.
- Talk to the complainant about the company’s sexual harassment policy. After hearing out the complaint, make sure you review the company’s sexual harassment policy. Also, get one copy of the policy and give it to the employee who filed the complaint. This way, your employee will know her rights when it comes to incidents like this.
- Gather all the facts of the incident. While you are talking to the person who filed the complaint, ask her everything about what happened. All details must be documented for investigation. This is also the time to summon the person accused of the harassment and ask his side. Make sure to take both sides of the story. You should also interview other people who know something about the incident. This way, you can tell if the complaint is valid or not.
- Take necessary actions as soon as possible. As soon as you are certain that a sexual harassment has indeed happened, you should act right away. Refer to the company’s sexual harassment policy and determine the necessary actions when things like this happen.
Incidents like this should not take long to resolve. As soon as the investigation is over, you must act quickly and resolve the issue properly. Otherwise, this issue might cause your company a lot of bigger problems if not resolved quickly.
These are the steps on how to respond to a sexual harassment charge. In cases like this, it is important that you do not discourage your employee about the issue. Let the complainer know his/her rights and ensure him/her that the complaint will be taken seriously. Lastly, make sure that you take this matter professionally and objectively. Do not be biased in whatever way.