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Dealing with big-boss misconduct

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,HR Management,Human Resources

One day, the CEO’s assistant pulls you aside to tell you about a series of unwanted sexual advances from her boss. You’re a trusted confidant of the chief’s, but this situation may draw a sexual harassment complaint against your organization.

Executive misconduct costs organizations an average of $900,000 a year: more than six times the cost of manager misbehavior. Harassment and other gender-related misconduct lead the list. So, what do you do?
  • Set up a protocol ahead of time. Confirm with the boss that, if anything comes to your attention, you’ll take it to HR.

  • Reassure your people that, if anyone brings you an allegation, you will take it seriously. Remind them that, during the investigation, you’ll keep the matter in confidence and expect them to do the same. Assure them that your organization will not tolerate retaliation.

  • Decide whether and when to confront the exec. If the allegation involves one of your people, you and HR may have to approach the boss right away. This approach may help him save face while ending the problem.

  • Prepare yourself for chilly relations with the CEO. Say goodbye to business dinners and hockey tickets.
— Adapted from “Executive Discipline,” Robert J. Grossman, HR Magazine.

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