How do you balance a victim or complainant centred approach with the realities of a sexual harassment claim in the workplace? There is a lot of talk at the moment about what is the best practise approach to sexual harassments claims in the workplace. From an HR perspective, it can be a real challenge. However, we are firmly of the view that you can take the matter seriously, find out what is going on, sensitively support the claimant and still provide natural justice to the respondent.
Often it is the HR Manager who is left exposed and under pressure with various elements within the organisation. You have to get it done fast, be transparent, provide confidentiality, make sure you deal with this ‘serial complainer’, don’t go soft as we take sexual harassment seriously, you had better give the respondent a fair chance…
Often the grievance process is stuck in the rigidity of compliance and obligation, mandating a way the matter must be handled. This can be at odds with what the complainant is seeking and what’s best for the organisation. In one case we came across a complainant who was forced to describe serious sexual conduct to her manager whilst the respondent was present as policy mandated that the prior to escalation all matters must be dealt with locally first and this is what it was interpreted to mean.
We don’t pretend that this is easy, however, there is a best practice approach to these things and it can be put in policy. However, policy is secondary to how that policy is applied and the type of training and understanding that managers have that give effect to the approach. Any stage has the chance to cause untold harm to the participants irrespective of whether they are the complainant, the respondent, witnesses or work colleagues.
It is crucial that the complainant’s expectations of the process and how this process will be managed is carefully managed. We often find that the process can cause as much damage as the behaviour that is being complained about.
It is not a matter of competing interests as people often assert. It is about supporting people without judging them, managing their expectations and ensuring that all involved have a voice that is heard.
How workplace investigations are run is an ever-growing area of workplace risk and litigation. When they go wrong, they can do so spectacularly, from both a legal and a people-management perspective.
Ensure your Workplace Investigations are compliant and conducted with confidence. This training will give HR professionals the skills to develop and implement effective plans for conducting a compliant workplace investigation, the strategies to overcome difficulties along the way and the expertise to make findings of fact and subsequent recommendations.
This hands-on and practical one-day workshop will give you skills, knowledge and understanding around:
The training will support your learning surrounding:
The Zalt Group are determined to increase the credibility, capability and confidence of practitioners. We investigate difficult workplace issues. We love to teach others to do what we do.
We are also running a Facilitating Difficult Conversations In The Workplace Program for 2 days on 10 - 11 October. Please contact us for more info!
If you enjoyed reading this blog, you might also like: Let's Talk About Natural Justice, Why The Allegations Matter, An Investigation In The Balance, Why Investigate, To Investigate or Not To Investigate, That's The Q!
The Zalt Group works with individuals & organisations who want to restore and strengthen workplace relationships.
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