Yesterday's Advisor considered harassment complaint systems. Today, we cover who takes complaints, offer a sample complaint form, and discuss one additional key element—training.
Who should handle harassment complaints? The people designated for this task should be people viewed as credible, objective, sensitive, and trustworthy.
Note that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says any complaint procedure where the only person an employee can complain to is his or her supervisor is an ineffective system—especially, of course, when the supervisor is the harasser. EEOC advises employers to set up multiple avenues of recourse for a complainant.
EEOC further advises that employees who wish to make a complaint of harassment should have the option to complain to someone who is outside of their chain of command, to place confidence in the complainant that the complaint will be handled with impartiality.
Therefore, designate at least two people in the company who employees can approach with an initial complaint, and be sure that they are not in the same chain of command. (Two is a minimum; large companies will surely have to increase the number.)
Sample Harassment Complaint Form
Here is a sample of what you might use for employees to file complaints. It should help you collect enough specific information to determine what course of action is necessary.
Name: _____________________________________ Department: ________________________________ E-mail address: ________________________Phone: Home: ____________ Work: ____________ Cell: _____________
Please provide a detailed description of the behavior or incident (s) about which you are making a complaint or attach the description to this form. Include the following information and anything else that would help management understand your complaint:
Who was involved:
When the incident(s) took place:
Where the incident(s) took place:
Who (if anyone) witnessed the incident(s):
Please also attach any documents, e-mails, or other materials that support your claim of harassment.
What would you like the company to do to resolve this issue?
____________________________ Signature ____________________________ Date
Submit this form to: ________________________________
'I never knew there was complaint system'
Without a record of in-depth and regular training, it's going to be hard to make the case that an employee knew of your system and how to access it. (And to gain the benefit of the "affirmative defense," you'll need to show the employee knew of the system.) So make the training clear, and document it with employee signatures. Training should cover:
How about your managers and supervisors? Are they ready to deal with harassment? Especially when new to the job, most supervisors don't know how to handle things like harassment complaints (or hiring, firing, FMLA, or accommodating a disability, for that matter).
It's not their fault—you didn’t hire them for their HR knowledge—and you can’t expect them to act appropriately right out of the box. But you can train them to do it.
To train supervisors and managers effectively, you need a program that’s easy for you to deliver and that requires little time out of busy schedules. Also, if you're like most companies in these tight budget days, you need a program that’s reasonable in cost.
We asked our editors what they recommend for training supervisors in a minimum amount of time with maximum effect. They came back with BLR's unique 10-Minute HR Trainer.
As its name implies, it trains managers and supervisors in critical HR skills in as little as 10 minutes for each topic. 10-Minute HR Trainer offers these features:
•Trains in 50 key HR topics, including manager and supervisor responsibilities under all major employment laws and how to legally carry out managerial actions from hiring to termination. See a complete list of topics, below.
•Uses the same teaching sequence master teachers use. Every training unit includes an overview, bullet points on key lessons, a quiz, and a handout to reinforce the lesson later.
•Completely prewritten and self-contained. Each unit comes as a set of reproducible documents. Just make copies or turn them into overheads, and you’re done. Take a look at a sample lesson.
•Updated continually. As laws change, your training needs do as well. 10-Minute HR Trainer provides new lessons and updated information every 90 days, along with a monthly Training Forum newsletter, for as long as you are in the program.
•Works fast. Each session is so focused that there’s not a second’s waste of time. Your managers are in and out almost before they can look at the clock. Yet they remember small details even months later.
Evaluate It at No Cost for 30 Days
We’ve arranged to make 10-Minute HR Trainer available to our readers for a 30-day, in-office, no-cost trial. Review it at your own pace and try some lessons with your colleagues. If it’s not for you, return it at our expense. Go here and we’ll set things up.
Download product sample Download table of contents Download Training Forum Newsletter
Related Articles:'But It Wasn't a Formal Complaint …'-HR Daily Advisor-BLR Invoking the Slippery 'Affirmative Defense' to HarassmentFinding the Safe Haven from Harassment ClaimsManagers’ Myths about Sexual Harassment
If you have comments about this tip and want to post them on this page to share your thoughts with other HR Daily Advisor readers, simply enter your comments below. NOTE: Your name will appear on any comments posted.
Copyright © 2013 BLR Business & Legal Reports Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.