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Suspect an employee is being harassed? Ask if she wants an investigation

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Some employees may be embarrassed when they experience sex­­ual harassment. They may feel too uncomfortable to come right out and repeat offensive comments they heard. What should HR do?

You could ask questions to elicit specifics. Or you could simply explain the company’s sexual har­­assment policy and ask whether she wants the company to start an investigation. Then note her response.

If she doesn’t offer up more specifics or declines the investigation offer, you can later argue that she chose not to take advantage of your policy and therefore can’t now complain that you didn’t stop the alleged harassment.

Unless the harasser was her supervisor and she was fired, demoted or otherwise suffered serious consequences before you had a chance to do something, her failure to follow the policy is a solid defense.

Recent case: Judy was fired from her job with Work N Gear, a clothing retailer, after she failed to respond to a store ...(register to read more)

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