Media Employment Attorney Explains Harassment Complaints
As a skilled Media Employment Attorney, I get questions all time from clients regarding harassment complaints in the workplace. If you have received a complaint that a coworker is complaining about another coworker’s behavior whether it’s bullying, sexual advances, general unpleasantness, or yelling and screaming in the workplace. Then the first thing you should do is encourage that individual to report it. That becomes difficult sometimes because they will say, “I didn’t know where to go.” That’s where your employee manual comes into play and the education of your workplace. By education in your workplace, it’s good for you to have meetings that will say okay if this is happening to you, here are your options. Look in your workbook/employee manual and say this is how to deal with it. Your obligation as the employer should say, “I’ve got to have a process. One to investigate this and two once I do the investigation, how to discipline the individuals involved making sure that it stops.” That’s your goal here, to get it stopped.
Your employee manual should set forth the procedure. This deals a lot of times with sexual harassment, bullying in the workplace, or general complaints about harassment. The process is an investigation; you get names, keeping it confidential. Then you do your investigation with either names, emails are sometimes a problem, and then you reach a conclusion. You have to interview the individual that’s alleged to have been the victim, also the alleged perpetrator and get their sides of the story. A lot of times you are going to hear the story, “Oh, we were just joking around. Oh, that’s just the way we are. I do that all the time. I talk to other girls like this. I talk to other employees like this.” But that is not good enough.
You have to establish a baseline as to what is appropriate in the workplace and what is not. Those types of conduct with regard to harassment, bullying, sexual advances, sexual comments, and name calling are unacceptable. Once you’ve conducted your investigation you then resort to your employee discipline policy, which should be set forth also in your manual and say this is how we are going to deal with this. Depending on the facts and circumstances, that discipline can range from a suspension, a written warning, a verbal warning or could result in termination depending on the seriousness of the allegation.
If you have any questions about how handle harassment complaints in the workplace, please contact our Media Employment Attorneys for a free case evaluation.
This educational blog was brought to you by experienced Media Employment Attorney Walter J. Timby. Our law firm proudly represents clients throughout Media, as well as Pennsylvania, the greater Philadelphia area, and New Jersey.