If you don’t already have a system in place to track all employee complaints, develop one now. You simply never know when someone will sue. When a lawsuit claims that an employee worked in a hostile environment, a record of those complaints—or the lack thereof—will come in handy.
Recent case: Amadou Diagne, a black Muslim man of African origin, worked in security for the insurance company New York Life.
Several times in 2001 and 2002 he complained to HR that a co-worker was harassing him. An HR rep spoke to the alleged harasser and told him to stop.
Years later, after Diagne was terminated, he sued, claiming he had been forced to work in a hostile environment.
But HR had no records of any unresolved complaints. The court dismissed the case. (Diagne v. New York Life, No. 09-5157, SD NY, 2010)