You should set up the following procedures to handle harassment issues at work.
Harassment Reporting Line
To provide a safe environment for employees to voice their concerns, you can do the following:
- Set up anonymous whistle-blowing mechanisms, such as an external hotline. This is so employees can air their grievances without revealing their identity.
- Have multiple reporting channels, which can include a higher authority or a neutral party if the harasser happens to be the employee's immediate superior.
To set up robust investigation procedures, you can do the following:
- Keep the identities of the complainant and alleged harasser confidential.
- Appoint trained neutral parties to investigate each case (e.g. managers).
- Establish a timeline for investigation and communicate this to all parties.
- Evaluate the case based on available evidence and determine whether the alleged behaviour constitutes harassment (see About Workplace Harassment).
- Provide progress updates and findings to the complainant and alleged harasser.
- Take corrective actions (e.g. update your harassment prevention policy, remind supervisors and staff on their duties regarding workplace harassment).
- Provide an avenue for appeals.
To prevent future occurrences, you should strive to close systemic gaps (e.g. by refining your code of conduct or policies). You can also implement the following procedures to provide closure for both harassers and victims.
- Harassers: Counsel and monitor the harasser to ensure that the offence is not repeated. You can also re-deploy or relocate the harasser to avoid future conflicts.
- Victims: Help the victim file a report to the authorities, if needed. You can also provide support for the victim through counselling, additional leave or flexible work arrangements during the investigation and recovery period.