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What Can Employers Expect During Harassment Complaints?

What Can Employers Expect During Harassment Complaints?

Florida attorney Reed Bloodworth the Founder and CEO of Bloodworth Law addresses the question: what can employers expect during harassment complaints?

“We handle employment litigation for Florida business owners and individuals and will walk you through what will happen after a harassment complaint.”

Step 1: You’re Investigated 

“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,” Reed said.

“An employee is accusing someone at your company of harassment. What’s going to happen next?”

Separate Parties Involved

“Generally, what is done first is to separate the alleged harasser from the alleged victim,” Reed said. “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 including placing someone involved on paid administrative leave — preferably the alleged harasser — not the alleged victim,” Reed said.

“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,” Reed said.

“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.

No Retaliation

“Most importantly, you cannot do anything to retaliate against someone who complains even if it turns out that there was no harassment taking place,” Reed said.

“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.”

The Bloodworth Law employment litigation team attorneys represent Florida clients and work to resolve issues for business owners and employees with legal issues.  

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