I’m attorney Reed Bloodworth, the managing partner of Bloodworth Law in Orlando, Florida. I’m going to talk about what can employers expect during harassment complaints?
What Can Employers Expect During Harassment Complaints?
We handle employment litigation across the state for businesses and individuals and want to walk you through what will happen after a complaint.
First, you’ll get a notice that you’re being investigated by a state, federal, county or your own internal HR department because there’s been a harassment complaint filed.
An employee is accusing someone at your company of harassment. What’s going to happen next?
Generally, what is done first is to separate the alleged harasser from the alleged victim. This needs to be done without punishing or retaliating against the complainant.
Positive Methods for Handling Complaints
Next, you need to find positive methods for handling harassment complaints include placing someone involved on paid administrative leave — preferably the alleged harasser — not the alleged victim.
Or, you can also temporarily transfer someone so they’re working somewhere else, or explore telecommuting options, so someone can work from home for a while.
No Chance for Retaliation
But you must separate the alleged harasser and the alleged victim to make sure that while the investigation is pending that there’s no chance of even the appearance of additional misconduct or retaliation.
You then need to conduct a neutral investigation using a professional who is trained to do the investigation. Contact your legal counsel to decide this process.
After the Investigation Requirements
After you’ve done the investigation, you are required by law — if harassment is occurring — to stop the harassment. Your primary obligation is to make sure that the harassment ends.
Outcomes may include firing the person if they are found guilty of harassing someone. Or you might need to conduct additional training for your staff.
Revise Policies and Publish Rules
You may need to revise policies and publish notices about what your company rules are.
Most importantly, you cannot do anything to retaliate against someone who complains even if it turns out that there was no harassment taking place.
Complaints aren’t made completely without there being something at issue. Update your harassment policy and inform your employees about what is expected at your company.
Again, I’m attorney Reed Bloodworth, the managing partner of Bloodworth Law in Florida. Let’s talk about how Bloodworth Law can help you or your business.