Just like the movie, Groundhog Day, we hear the same story of sexual harassment again and again. It feels like each time we turn on the news or open twitter, some new actor, politician, or businessman has been accused of sexual harassment.
We hear how these offenders sometimes deny the behavior or sometimes offer an apology. We also hear how training isn’t working. What we don’t hear is how to resolve it. We have identified six options for resolving sexual harassment.
The Talking with your supervisor or another person in management option, is when an employee alleges that he or she received unwelcome behavior, including behavior prohibited by the employer’s anti-harassment or other related policies, such as use of electronic information or retaliation. If the alleged behavior is sexual, violates protected characteristics, relates to sexual orientation and or gender identity harassment, management is expected to notify HR. HR is responsible for conducting an investigation to determine if the alleged behavior occurred.
The HR conducts an investigation option occurs after HR is made aware of behavior prohibited by anti-harassment or retaliation policies. The investigation determines if the alleged behavior occurred, and if it did, the employer is responsible for taking action to stop it, prevent it from occurring again and for preventing retaliation.
The corrective action option occurs after HR’s investigation determines that an employee violated one or more of the employer’s policies. To ensure that consistent corrective action occurs across the organization HR usually suggests the appropriate discipline. But it is the supervisor or manager who typically makes the final decision and administers the corrective action.
The talk with an Outside Agency option is in addition to internal resolution options. Employees may also contact an outside agency for assistance in stopping behavior prohibited by their employer’s harassment, retaliation and discrimination policies.
NOTE: EEOC asks employees who file a complaint with them if they shared the allegation(s) with their employer and did they give them an opportunity to investigate and resolve it?
If you are a recipient of sexual harassment or if you see it taking place in your workplace, it’s time to resolve it and wake up from your own Groundhog day.