Presentation on theme: "Creating a Harassment-Free Workplace"— Presentation transcript:
1 Creating a Harassment-Free Workplace Thursday, September 20, 2pm – 4pmFriday, September 28, 9am – 11am
2 What Supervisors Need to Know Workplace HarassmentWhat Supervisors Need to KnowSlide Show Notes
3 Session ObjectivesYou will be able to:Understand the requirements of the law and company policyIdentify incidents of workplace harassmentHandle complaints and participate in investigations effectivelyTake appropriate corrective action against incidents of harassment in your departmentSlide Show NotesThe main objective of this session is to help you understand the nature of harassment in the workplace, how you can help prevent it, and what to do if, despite our best efforts, it occurs in our organization. By the time this session is over, you should be able to:Understand the requirements of the law and company policy;Identify incidents of workplace harassment;Handle complaints and participate in investigations effectively; andTake appropriate corrective action against incidents of harassment in your department.
4 What harassment is and why it is a problem What You Need to KnowWhat harassment is and why it is a problemCompany policy against harassmentProcedures for dealing with harassmentHow to investigate incidents and determine whether harassment has occurredProper action to stop harassment and correct its effectsSlide Show NotesDuring the session, we’ll discuss:What harassment is and why it is a problem;Company policy against harassment;Procedures for dealing with harassment;How to investigate incidents and determine whether harassment has occurred; andThe actions you need to take to stop harassment and correct its effects.
5 Why You Should Be Concerned Workplace harassment is a serious problemComplaints are risingHarassment takes many formsLiabilitySlide Show NotesHarassment on the job is a very real and serious problem. It shows up in workplaces large and small in all states—north and south, east and west, and everywhere in between. Unfortunately, despite many years of civil rights action, implementation of federal and state fair employment laws, and considerable progress on the part of most employers to combat employment discrimination, bias remains a pervasive and damaging problem in the workplace.In fact, the number of harassment complaints filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, and state fair employment agencies has risen significantly. For example, in recent years there has been a fivefold increase in racial harassment charges and a tenfold increase in the number of racial harassment cases going to court. Furthermore, resentment of people from countries associated with terrorism has caused a new wave of harassment. And many workers of other ethnic origins also suffer from harassment on the job.Workplace harassment can take many forms—for example, racial and ethnic slurs, threats, racial and ethnic jokes and labels, and derogatory comments about people because of their religion or background. Often the harassment comes from co-workers. But sometimes members of management—especially supervisors—are also involved.
6 What Is Harassment?Harassment is unwelcome behavior directed at a member of a protected groupHarassment usually involves a pattern of behaviorHarassment is a form of illegal discriminationSlide Show NotesHarassment is unwelcome behavior directed at a person or group because of race, color, religion, or national or ethnic origin. As we mentioned at the beginning of the session, workplace harassment can—and frequently does—also involve gender. Sometimes it can be based on a person’s age, disability, or sexual orientation.Harassment usually involves a pattern of behavior—something that occurs repeatedly over time. Although, as we’ll see a little later, one serious incident could be enough to trigger an investigation.When this type of behavior is directed against anyone in any of the groups we’ve just mentioned, it is a form of illegal employment discrimination in violation of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act and state fair employment laws.
7 EEOC defines sexual harassment as sexual conduct that is: Harassment and the LawEEOC defines sexual harassment as sexual conduct that is:UnwelcomeHarmfulIllegalSlide Show NotesAccording to the EEOC, sexual harassment is sexual conduct that is:Unwelcome.Sexual advancesRequests for sexual favorsVerbal or physical conduct of a sexual natureDisplays of sexually explicit or suggestive materialsHarmful to both the physical and emotional health of victims and witnesses, thereby negatively affecting the workplace atmosphere in general.Illegal. The bottom line is that all forms of sexual harassment are illegal.
8 What Is Harassment? Harassment is often blatant Harassment can also be subtleBehavior that may be short of illegal discriminationSlide Show NotesHarassment is often blatant—for example, jokes, slurs, labels, graffiti, derogatory comments, or threats.But it can also be subtle—so subtle, in fact, that it may take a while to be sure that a pattern of harassment really exists. For example it may take the form of veiled comments, subtle intimidation, and language or behavior that might seem at first to be meant just in fun—a little harmless teasing, nothing more. But behind that might lurk some very unpleasant attitudes that eventually come out in overt behavior.Finally, it’s important to note that harassment in its broadest sense can involve behavior that falls short of statutory discrimination. Although some types of behavior might not be against the law, and might not be considered harassment in a court of law, that doesn’t mean we condone that kind of behavior in our organization. For example, harassing someone because of they’re overweight or skinny, because of the way they dress or talk, or because of some other feature or characteristic will not be tolerated. Rude, insensitive, or abusive behavior directed against an employee—for whatever reason—is unprofessional and inappropriate. We expect all employees to treat one another with courtesy and respect.
9 What Harassment Is Not Occasional teasing Offhand comments Isolated incidents that are not extremely seriousSlide Show NotesHaving said what harassment is, it’s also important to be clear about what harassment is not.Harassment is not occasional teasing. Even though that is something you would want to put a stop to when it comes to your attention, occasional teasing is not the same thing as the behavior we’ve been describing as harassment.Generally an offhand comment—something that might be said once in anger or out of careless disregard for another person’s feelings—does not qualify as harassment either. For example, a stray remark about Muslims and terrorism after a bombing attributed to an extremist group would not constitute illegal harassment even if it was overheard by a Muslim or someone of the same national origin or ethnic background as the people claiming credit for the act of terrorism.Minor isolated incidents are generally not considered harassment even if they are directed against someone in a protected group. For example, if someone once told a joke offensive to Jews or Catholics, without having a history of saying such things, it is unlikely that EEOC or anyone else would consider this harassment. Remember that harassment usually involves a pattern of behavior—something that happens over and over, day in and day out.
10 When Is It Harassment? One extremely serious incident Intimidating, hostile, offensive environmentSlide Show NotesWe’ve just talked about some circumstances that wouldn’t rise to the level of illegal harassment. Now let’s talk about the circumstances that would.One extremely serious incident might be considered harassment if, for example, an employee were to be physically threaten by a co-worker for racial or ethnic reasons. Even if it only occurred once, an incident like that is so serious that it would have to be fully investigated.Generally, however, as we’ve said, harassment involves a pattern of behavior—a pattern that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment for the target. For example, constant abusive language, day in and day out, directed at a person of color or a person of a particular religion or ethnic background would amount to what a court might say was “severe and pervasive” and therefore constitute illegal harassment.
11 When Is It Harassment? Unreasonable interference with work performance Negative affect on an individual’s employment opportunitiesSlide Show NotesConduct on the part of a supervisors or co-workers that unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance is also considered illegal harassment if it is directed at a member of a protected group. For example, if an employee is so upset by continual put-downs or racially offensive language used by co-workers that her or she can’t concentrate on the job, and if the employee’s supervisor turns a blind eye to the behavior, then this would be a situation in which a court would likely rule that illegal harassment had occurred. We would find such behavior reprehensible no matter who the target was, of course—whether it was someone protected by statute or simply by the law of decency. Our policy requires professional conduct from all employees at all times.Harassment might also take the form of negatively affecting an individual’s employment opportunities. For example, if an African American was repeatedly denied promotions and told by his supervisor that “his kind” shouldn’t expect to get ahead in the organization, that would also be a form of illegal harassment.Can you think of any incidents that have happened in our organization?Discuss incidents involving harassment reports or complaints, and explain the outcome.
13 Women accuse former Mrs Women accuse former Mrs. Baird's supervisor of rape 10:16 PM CDT on Wednesday, September 19, 2007FORT WORTH - A Mrs. Baird's Bakery employee has come forward after she said she was raped by her supervisor in a supply room at a plant in Fort Worth.The 48-year-old woman said she was raped by Duane Ford, who police said had helped the alleged victim get a job in the sanitation services division. In return, the victim said he wanted to have sex."Sometime last fall, [he] expected her to reciprocate and return the favor, making sexual advances, which she again declined," said Lt. Dean Sullivan, Fort Worth Police Department.The victim told police she was raped twice and reported the incident it to both the police and the bakery in July."The employee in question was suspended while the company conducted its own internal investigation," read a statement from Mrs. Baird's Bakery. "The employee was ultimately terminated after that investigation was completed."Ford worked for Mrs. Baird's for more than 22 years. He's charged with one count of sexual assault, but was also accused of raping another woman who identified herself as "B" in a civil lawsuit that was filed against the bakery in August. Police are still investigating the allegation."Based on the fact that we've now had two victims come forward, there's certainly a possibility there may be other victims that exist," Sullivan said.After an ad was placed in a local newspaper by "B's" attorney, another alleged victim also was reported to come forward.
15 Accuser Claims Thomas Used Foul Language By LARRY McSHANE Associated Press Writer NEW YORK Sep 18, 2007 (AP)A Madison Square Garden executive was ready to quit her high-salaried position and was nearly fired over her inability to handle work responsibilities in the months before she sued New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas for sexual harassment, a top MSG official testified Wednesday.Steve Mills, MSG Sports president and CEO, was the first witness called as Thomas and MSG opened their defense in federal court against the charges made in a $10 million lawsuit by Anucha Browne Sanders.On Monday, jurors watched a videotaped deposition in which a mild-mannered Thomas said: "I never cursed at Miss Sanders. ... Now have I ever used curse words around her, yes, but at her? No.” … On the tape, Thomas also said that he would find it more offensive if a white male called a black female a "bitch," than if a black male used the same term when speaking to a black female.The airing of the deposition came during the second week of a trial that has exposed the Knicks one of the NBA's storied franchises to damaging allegations weeks before the start of training camp. The lawsuit has portrayed Madison Square Garden as more dysfunctional frat house than hallowed basketball arena.
16 Is this Sexual Harassment? A female employee wears miniskirtsA female supervisor makes frequent comments about a male employee’s physiqueA male supervisor makes frequent comments about a male employee’s physiqueSlide Show NotesA little later in the session we’ll get into a more specific definition of sexual harassment. But first let’s take a moment now to play judge and decide whether these actions are harassment.A female employee wears miniskirts to work. Is she asking for sexual harassment? No. You must abide by the company dress code; if miniskirts are allowed, you have the right to wear them without fear of being harassed.A female supervisor makes frequent comments about a male employee’s physique. Is this sexual harassment? Yes. Male employees can be the victims of sexual harassment and have the same protections under harassment laws.A male supervisor makes frequent comments about a male employee’s physique. Harassment? Yes. Sexual harassment can happen between people of the same gender. The key is not sexual orientation—that is, that the act is motivated by homosexuality— but that the act is sexual in nature.
17 Is This Sexual Harassment? Two co-workers forward each other off-color jokes they receive in sAn employee asks a co-worker outTwo co-workers develop a personal relationshipSlide Show NotesTwo co-workers forward each other off-color jokes they receive in . Is this sexual harassment? No. This exchange is not unwelcome. If one co-worker complains of sexual harassment because of receiving offensive jokes, the claim probably won’t stand, because the co-worker has participated by also sending off-color jokes and not indicating that they were offensive. If the employee’s situation changes and he or she decides to no longer go along with the exchange, he or she needs to communicate that to the co-worker—and the co-worker needs to stop sending the jokes.An employee asks a co-worker out. Harassment? No. Asking a co-worker out is not considered sexual harassment. It’s important to take “no” for an answer, however. Repeated overtures can turn into harassment.Two co-workers develop a personal relationship. Is this sexual harassment? No. People can—and do—form relationships with co-workers. As long as the relationship is consensual, it is not considered sexual harassment. Remember that only unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is unlawful.
18 Conduct of supervisors and managers Conduct of co-workers Employer LiabilityPreventing liabilityConduct of supervisors and managersConduct of co-workersConduct of non-employeesSlide Show NotesAccording to EEOC, if employers and employees discharge their respective duties and act reasonably, unlawful harassment can be prevented in most cases. If an organization has effective complaint and investigation procedures, harassment problems can usually be stopped and corrected long before a company is hauled into court, facing liability for illegal harassment.Employers are generally held liable for harassment by supervisors and managers. An individual qualifies as an employee’s supervisor if the individual has authority to undertake or recommend tangible employment decisions affecting the employee. An individual is also considered a supervisor if he or she has the authority to direct the employee’s daily work activities.An individual who is temporarily authorized to direct another employee’s daily work activities—like a team or project leader—could also qualify as a supervisor during that period. If that person harassed a co-worker, the company could be held liable.Under Title VII supervisors and managers can also be found personally liable for discrimination against employees.
19 Harassment Policy Where is our policy stated? Familiarize yourself with the policyExplain the policy to employeesSlide Show NotesTo prevent harassment and prevent liability as well, we have developed a comprehensive policy that prohibits any form of harassment by anyone in our workplace.Be sure to familiarize yourself with our harassment policy. It addresses the following key points:A clear description of prohibited conduct;An explanation of how to file complaints;Protection from retaliation for those who complain or provide information in support of harassment complaints;Confidential treatment of complaints to the extent possible;Prompt, thorough, and impartial investigations; andPrompt and appropriate corrective action when it is determined that harassment has occurred.Also make sure that your employees know about our harassment policy and understand its requirements. Be sure to explain the policy to new employees and give them a copy. Explain the complaint procedure, and assure employees that you will always listen to their complaints. Post a copy of the policy on your department bulletin board as well.
22 Workplace Anti-Harassment Policy The purpose of the Workplace Anti-Harassment Policy is to insure that all employees of the Harper companies have the right to work in an environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and conduct that may be considered harassing, coercive or disruptive, including sexual harassment. This also includes, but is not limited to, harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, age, veteran status, disability, handicap, pregnancy, or marital status. Our company’s position is that harassment is a form of misconduct that undermines the integrity of the employment relationship. Harassment refers to behavior that to a reasonable employee is not welcome, that is personally offensive, that debilitates morale, and which therefore interferes with work effectiveness. No employee should be subject to harassment, either verbal or physical. Such behavior may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
23 Workplace Anti-Harassment Policy - 2 Responsibilities:Supervisors and managers are responsible for creating an atmosphere in which harassment is not tolerated, taking immediate and appropriate action in response to any reported violation of this policy, and assuring that no reprisals are taken against either those who complain or corroborating witnesses.Human Resources is responsible for formally notifying employees (including newly hired employees), supervisors, and management of the existence of this policy.Human Resources, in conjunction with supervisors and managers, is responsible for providing guidance, investigating charges of impropriety, and recommending appropriate action. All claims will be thoroughly investigated.
24 Workplace Anti-Harassment Policy - 3 ActionEmployee:Complaints of harassment should be brought to the attention of the employee’s supervisor.If the alleged harasser is the employee’s supervisor, or if the employee does not feel comfortable addressing their concern with the supervisor, the employee should bypass the supervisor and take the complaint to the supervisor’s manager or Human Resources.Supervisor:After notification of any employee’s complaint, a supervisor will immediately contact the Human Resource department.
25 Workplace Anti-Harassment Policy - 4 Human Resources:After notification of the employee’s complaint, a confidential investigation will immediately be initiated to gather all the facts about the complaint.After the investigation has been completed, a determination will be made by the appropriate management regarding resolution of the case. If warranted, disciplinary action will be taken, up to and including dismissal.
26 Workplace Anti-Harassment Policy - 4 Non-Retaliation:This policy also prohibits retaliation against employees who bring harassment charges or assist in investigating charges. Any employee bringing a harassment complaint or assisting in the investigation of such a complaint will not be adversely affected in terms and conditions of employment, nor discriminated against, or discharged because of the complaint or participation.
27 Harassment Policy Enforce the policy strictly Review the policy periodically and following any incidentsSlide Show NotesYou also need to make it crystal clear to all employees—new workers as well as your veteran employees—that this policy will be strictly enforced. Let them know that the consequences of harassing a co-worker include discipline and could even result in termination.Review the policy periodically to maintain awareness. Make certain employees remain mindful of their rights and responsibilities under the policy. Also review the policy with all employees immediately following any incident of harassment in your department.Think about the company’s harassment policy and your role in explaining it to employees and enforcing it in your department. If there’s anything you don’t currently understand about this policy, be sure to ask Human Resources for an explanation.Review your organization’s harassment policy in detail and answer any questions trainees have about terms or enforcement.
28 Harassment in the Workplace Do you understand the information in the previous slides?Slide Show NotesNow it’s time to ask yourself if you understand the information presented so far. Do you understand the definition of workplace harassment and the requirements of the law and company policy? Do you feel comfortable that you would be able to identify an incident of harassment if it involved any of your employees?It’s important that you understand all this information so that you are prepared to deal with harassment effectively should it ever occur in your department.Answer any questions trainees have about the information presented in the previous slides.Conduct an exercise, if appropriate.Now let’s continue to the next slide and talk about verbal harassment.
29 Verbal Harassment Threats Intimidation Offensive language, slurs, or derogatory commentsGraffitiJokesCirculating insulting stories or rumors about a personSlide Show NotesHarassment can be either verbal or nonverbal. Verbal harassment can occur in many different ways.In the worst case, it can take the form of threats against against an individual. Threats may be explicit or implied. Threats do not have to actually be carried out to be harassment.Intimidation is another form of harassment that may be expressed verbally. In this case, there may be no threats but, instead, bullying or put-downs designed to make a person fearful or insecure.Verbal harassment may also involve offensive language, racial or ethnic slurs, or derogatory comments directed at a person because of his or her race, color, religion, or national or ethnic origin.Graffiti can be a form of harassment as well.As can constant jokes about a person’s race or ethnic origin.Circulating insulting stories or rumors about a person can also be considered a form of verbal harassment.Think about these examples of verbal harassment. Have you ever heard any remarks by employees that could be interpreted as harassment?Ask trainees if they have ever heard employees engaging in behavior that could be interpreted as verbal harassment.
30 Nonverbal Harassment Staring Standing over someone in an intimidating mannerDisplaying or circulating offensive pictures, cartoons, or objectsSingling out members of protected groups for unfavorable treatmentSlide Show NotesNonverbal harassment includes actions and behavior that are demeaning, threatening, or insulting.For example, continually staring at someone in a threatening or intimidating manner could be considered nonverbal harassment.Standing over someone or invading someone’s personal space in a threatening or intimidating manner might also be considered harassment.Another very common form of nonverbal harassment involves displaying or circulating pictures, cartoons, or objects that are offensive or insulting to a racial, ethnic, or other protected group.Singling out members of protected groups for unfavorable treatment could also be considered harassment. For example, in one case, an employer subjected only African American and Hispanic employees to searches to make sure they weren’t stealing. EEOC determined this was illegal harassment and took the company to court.Think about these examples of nonverbal harassment. Have you ever seen any behavior that could be interpreted as nonverbal harassment?Ask trainees if they have ever heard employees engaging in behavior that could be interpreted as nonverbal harassment.
31 Economic Harassment Quid pro quo or economic harassment Automatic liabilityTangible employment action must actually occurSlide Show NotesThere are two main forms of sexual harassment, which we’ll go over in this and the next two slides.The first form is called “economic harassment,” or “tangible employment action,” which is a phrase that has evolved from the older term, quid pro quo, or “this for that.” Essentially, economic harassment is unlawful harassment that results in a tangible employment action to the victim. A tangible employment action involves monetary loss or significant changes in someone’s workload or assignment should he or she refuse a sexual request. For example, being passed over for promotion or a raise, or being given the least desirable assignments all the time for refusing the sexual overtures of someone in authority over your job. Economic harassment focuses on the harm to the victim rather than the conduct of the harasser.In cases of economic harassment, the company is automatically liable if a supervisor takes tangible employment action against an employee.The company is automatically liable only if the threat of job detriment or promise of job benefit actually results in an employment action, such as termination, promotion, demotion, or reassignment to a considerably different position.
32 Hostile Work Environment Severe or pervasive conduct (or both)Intimidating, hostile, or offensive displaysSlide Show NotesThe other main form of sexual harassment is hostile work environment.The definition of a hostile work environment covers severe or pervasive conduct—or both.It also includes items displayed in the workplace that “unreasonably interfere” with job performance or that create an “intimidating, hostile, or offensive” work environment. A hostile environment includes:Sexually offensive photos, drawings, calendars, graffiti, or other objectsSexually offensive language, jokes, gestures, or commentsAsk trainees why they think the law has included sexually offensive visuals or language in the prohibitions against sexual harassment in the workplace. What’s wrong with putting up “girlie” pictures, passing around suggestive cartoons, or telling dirty jokes? Suggest that a simple test for determining when something goes over the line might be, “Would I want my spouse, child, or parent to have to experience, see, or listen to something like this?”
33 Handling Employee Complaints Encourage reportingNever ignore a complaintReport complaints to your boss/and or designated personUnderstand that employees are allowed to bypass the normal chain of commandSlide Show NotesIn most cases you will be the first person in management to whom an employee comes with a complaint about harassment.Our harassment complaint process is designed to encourage victims to come forward. To achieve this goal, you must clearly explain the complaint procedure to your employees and ensure that there are no obstacles to filing a complaint.Never ignore any complaint or try to discourage an employee from filing a complaint.When an employee comes to you about a harassment problem, you need to bring it to the attention of your boss and/or a designated person in the organization right away so that the complaint can be properly investigated. Once an employees comes to you with a complaint, a court would say that the organization has been officially put on notice. The organization could therefore be held liable on the basis that it knew or should have known about the harassment.Understand that employees are allowed to bypass the normal chain of command when making harassment complaints. This is because sometimes the harasser is a supervisor. Allowing employees to bypass the chain of command provides additional assurance that complaints will be handled impartially.
34 Handling Employee Complaints Strike a balance between the need for confidentiality and the need to investigateProtect everyone’s rightsSlide Show NotesMake it clear to employees that their complaints will be handled confidentially to the extent possible. In order to conduct an effective investigation, certain information might have to be revealed to the alleged harasser or to potential witnesses. However, information about a complaint should only be shared with those who need to know. Records relating to harassment complaints should be kept confidential on the same basis.Finally, remember that we have a duty to protect everyone’s rights in these situations, including the alleged harasser’s. Until someone has admitted particular conduct or until an investigation determines that the conduct has occurred, you need to keep an open mind. “Alleged” means accused, not proven.Do you know the proper procedure for reporting harassment complaints?Explain your harassment complaint procedure and provide trainees with the name of the person(s) in the organization to whom harassment complaints should be reported.
35 Dealing with Minor Incidents Determine the exact nature of the incidentTake immediate action as appropriateCounsel the alleged harasser informallyReassure the victimConsider referral to HRMonitor the situation carefullySlide Show NotesAlthough you have a duty to report all cases of alleged harassment to your superiors, they may decide to let you handle some minor incidents yourself—for example, an incident involving a few comments or actions that are not all that serious.Your first step is to determine the exact nature of the incident. Ask the victim to explain the situation. If it turns out that this is part of a pattern of behavior—not just an isolated incident—refer the case through the normal complaint procedure for resolution.If no pattern emerges, sit down with the alleged harasser and ask for an explanation. Whether or not the employee admits to harassing behavior, review the organization’s harassment policy. This kind of informal counseling might be enough to get this person to voluntarily comply with company policy in the future. Make it clear, however, that any future incidents will result in discipline.Next, reassure the victim that the matter has been handled and that he or she should not expect any further trouble. But make it clear that if there is any more trouble, the employee should report it to you immediately and further action will be taken.From that point on, monitor the situation carefully to make sure there are no further problems.
36 Participating in an Investigation Is an investigation necessary?How long will it take?What intermediate measures may be necessary?How should the investigation be conducted?Slide Show NotesEmployers are required to set up a mechanism for a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation of harassment complaints.As soon as we learn about alleged harassment, we have to determine whether a detailed, fact-finding investigation is necessary. Sometimes it may not be. For example, if the harasser admits to harassing behavior, there’d be no need for an investigation and we could proceed directly to taking appropriate corrective action.If an investigation is necessary, it should be launched immediately and proceed as quickly as possible. But we also need to be careful and take the time to examine all the information and talk to all the witnesses.While an investigation is under way, it may be necessary to take steps to protect the victim and ensure that further harassment does not take place. For example, we might need to temporarily transfer an alleged harasser or place the person on nondisciplinary leave pending the conclusion of the investigation. The employee who complains should not be involuntarily transferred or otherwise burdened, since such measures could constitute illegal retaliation for filing a complaint.Investigators will objectively gather and examine the relevant facts. Based on the evidence, they will determine whether or not harassment has occurred and decide the appropriate corrective action.
37 Questions During The Investigation Questions to ask the person making the complaintSlide Show NotesDuring a harassment investigation, a number of key questions must be asked of the various people involved in the matter.Questions for the employee making a harassment complaint might include the following:Who committed the alleged harassment? What exactly happened?When, where, and how often did the harassment occur?How did you react? What response did you make when the incidents occurred or afterward?How did the harassment affect you? Has your job been affected in any way?Was anyone present when the harassment occurred? Did you see anyone immediately after? Did you tell anyone about it?Do you know anyone else who has complained about harassment by that person?Are there any notes, physical evidence, or other documentation regarding the harassment?How would you like to see this situation resolved?
38 Questions During The Investigation Questions to ask the alleged harasserQuestions to ask witnessesSlide Show NotesAfter explaining the complaint to an alleged harasser, investigators might ask questions such as the following:Are the allegations true? If not, why do you think the person who complained made them?Are there any other employees who have relevant information about the charges?Are there any notes, physical evidence, or other documentation regarding the incidents alleged in the complaint?Do you know of any other relevant information?Questions for witnesses might include the following:What did you see or hear? When did this occur?Describe the alleged harasser’s behavior toward the person who complained and toward others in the workplace.What did the person who complained tell you? When did he or she tell you this?Are there other employees who might have relevant information?
39 Assessing Credibility PlausibilityDemeanorMotive to falsifyCorroborationPast recordSlide Show NotesIf there are conflicting versions of events, investigators will have to weigh each party’s credibility. Credibility assessments of people who complain, alleged harassers, and witnesses can be critical in determining whether harassment has, in fact, occurred.Several key factors must be considered when assessing credibility:Plausibility—Is the testimony believable? Does it make sense?Demeanor—Does the person seem to be telling the truth?Motive to falsify—Does the person have a reason to lie?Corroboration—Is there witness testimony or physical evidence that corroborates the what the person is saying?Past record—Does the alleged harasser have a history of similar behavior?Please note that none of the factors we’ve just mentioned absolutely determine credibility. For example, the fact that there are no eyewitnesses to alleged harassment doesn’t necessarily defeat the credibility of the person who complained, since harassment often occurs behind closed doors. Furthermore, the fact that the alleged harasser engaged in similar behavior in the past does not necessarily mean that he or she did so again.
40 Has Harassment Occurred? Making a determinationWhen no determination is possibleFiling a reportInforming the partiesSlide Show NotesWhen all the questions have been asked and the evidence has been weighed, the next step in the complaint process is to make a determination about whether harassment has occurred in violation of company policy and fair employment laws.In some cases it may be impossible to say conclusively whether or not harassment has occurred because there is just not enough hard evidence. That doesn’t mean that we will take no action. We still need to take preventive measures, such as training and monitoring to make sure that whether or not harassment occurred in this particular case, it does not occur somewhere else at some other time.Once a determination has been made, a report about the incident must be written and submitted to top management.In addition, the parties involved in the complaint—the alleged victim and harasser or harassers—must be informed of the results of the investigation and the action that will be taken to correct the problem.
41 Taking Corrective Action Consult your manager and/or HR before taking actionImplement effective remedial measuresBalance competing concernsSlide Show NotesWhenever an investigation determines that harassment has occurred in violation of company policy and the law, we must take immediate and appropriate corrective action.In most cases, the action to be taken will be explained to you by those who conducted the investigation. But if it’s up to you to determine what corrective action to take, be sure to talk it over with your manager before you act.The action you take must effectively stop the harassment, correct its effects on the victim, and ensure that the problem does not recur. The remedial measures you take need not necessarily be those that the victim requests or prefers—for example, firing a harasser—as long as the steps you take are effective in permanently stopping the harassment.In determining disciplinary action, we must make sure to balance competing concerns. Discipline should be severe enough to put an end to the behavior, but disciplinary measures also need to be in proportion to the seriousness of the offense. In serious cases, suspension or discharge might be appropriate. In less serious cases, a written warning and counseling might be enough.
42 Taking Corrective Action Make certain the victim is not adversely affectedStop the harassment and ensure that it does not recurSlide Show NotesWhatever action is taken, the law says that it must not adversely affect the victim of the harassment.Remedial measures must, however, stop the harasser cold and ensure that this person does not behave in this way again. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, such measures might include:Oral or written warning;Demotion;Transfer or reassignment;Suspension;Training or counseling to ensure the harasser understands company policy and why the behavior was in violation of the policy; andOngoing monitoring to make sure the harassment has indeed stopped.
43 Taking Corrective Action InterveneTake prompt actionFollow up to make sure the problem is solvedSlide Show NotesRemedial measures should also correct the effects of the harassment. You need to put the victim back in the position he or she would have been in had the misconduct not occurred. Remedial measures might therefore include:An apology from the harasser;Restoration of leave time taken because of the harassment;Removal of any negative evaluations in an employee’s file that arose from harassment by a supervisor;Reinstatement if the victim quit or lost his or her job as a result of the harassment;Monitoring treatment of the employee to make sure that he or she is not subjected to retaliation by the harasser or others in the workplace because of the complaint; andCorrection of any other harm caused by the harassment—for example, compensation for any losses directly resulting from the harassment.Finally, follow up with both parties until you are convinced that the remedial measures have been effective and the problem has been completely resolved.
44 Your Role in Dealing with Harassment Do you understand the information presented in the previous slides?Slide Show NotesDo you understand the information presented in the previous slides? Do you understand what we’ve said about verbal and nonverbal harassment? About handling complaints and participating in investigations? About taking action to stop harassment and correct its effects?It’s important that you understand all this information so that you can enforce company policy and deal effectively with workplace harassment should it ever occur.Answer any questions trainees have about the information presented in the previous slides.Conduct an exercise, if appropriate.Now let’s wind up the session with a perspective on workplace diversity and the problem of harassment. Then we’ll conclude with some key points to remember.
45 Diversity - Challenge and Opportunity Recognize that the problem is likely to growUnderstand that harassment interferes with good work relationshipsEncourage employees to recognize the benefits of diversityPromote a fair and diverse workplaceSlide Show NotesTomorrow’s workforce will be even more diverse than today’s. Problems involving harassment are likely to grow as workers from increasingly diverse backgrounds are required to work together.Harassment interferes with good work relationships and prevents the organization from benefiting from workplace diversity.You can help eliminate harassment by encouraging employees to recognize the benefits of diversity. Bringing people from many backgrounds together on the job provides a greater mix of talents, skills, ideas, and viewpoints—all of which make the organization stronger and more competitive in a global economy.To create a fair and diverse workplace encourage your employees to:Be aware of and try to correct personal biases;Stop people when they hear them joke about or put down others;Get to know people from other cultures and different backgrounds;Reach out and share experiences—try to understand where other people are coming from;Deal with conflicts right away instead of carrying grudges; andSee people as individuals, releasing expectations based on bias.
46 No rude, insensitive, or abusive behavior should ever be tolerated Key Points to RememberIllegal harassment is unwelcome behavior directed at a person because of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, or sexNo rude, insensitive, or abusive behavior should ever be toleratedYou play a critical role in identifying harassment, investigating incidents, taking corrective action, and enforcing company policy.Slide Show NotesHere are the main points to remember from this session on workplace harassment:Illegal harassment is unwelcome behavior directed at a person because of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, or sex.No rude, insensitive, or abusive behavior of any kind should be tolerated, even if it falls short of illegal harassment.You play a critical role in identifying harassment, investigating incidents, taking corrective action, and enforcing company policy.This concludes the workplace harassment training session.Give trainees the quiz, if appropriate.