You expect a certain level of physical and psychological safety in the workplace. Your employees require a safe environment to complete work tasks successfully. When one of your employees experiences unwanted sexual advances from a coworker or a supervisor, the workplace might become increasingly hostile.
When it comes to sexual harassment in LA, a lawyer’s opinion is that you must closely investigate unwanted sexual behavior as soon as possible. Your employees deserve to feel safe and protected while doing their job.
Being on the receiving end of sexual harassment is an unfortunate situation. Suppose an employee reports the misconduct of a coworker. In that case, you must conduct your own investigation to ensure that you provide a safe environment. If you are investigating a sexual harassment complaint, the following pointers will help you undergo a thorough investigation.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment involves a wide range of questionable behaviors that target individuals regardless of their gender or work relationship. Some examples are unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal harassment. Sexual harassment can take the form of various behaviors, such as:
- Conditioning an employee to give sexual favors in exchange for a promotion
- Sexual assault
- Unwanted physical touch
- Unwanted exposure of intimate parts
- Sharing sexually explicit photos or content
Unfortunately, this type of misconduct often happens in the workplace, making it difficult for the recipient of the harassment to feel secure. You can ensure that you maintain a safe space by encouraging your employees to report any type of sexual harassment.
What to Ask When Investigating the Harassed Person?
Discussing such a sensitive subject might put you in a difficult spot. You must understand that the harassed individual has mixed emotions about their circumstances. There is a set of questions you can ask to gather more detailed information about the circumstances of the harassment. When interviewing the recipient of the harassment, you should ask what they perceived as sexual harassment and what was said or done that made them uncomfortable.
Additionally, you must find out if they were touched inappropriately and the circumstances in which the harassment happened. Details such as the place, the date, and the time of the harassment are essential for your investigation.
Furthermore, you should establish a relationship between the harasser and the harassed. You can ask whether they participated in the same company events, if they dated at some point, and for how long they knew each other.
What to Ask When Investigating the Harasser?
Starting a conversation about sexual harassment with the suspected individual can put you in a complicated situation. You should first ask whether they know why you asked to speak with them. Before following up with other questions, you must listen to their side of the story. It would be best if you asked them where, when, and how the event took place and what was the reaction of the harassed individual.
Suppose other people were present at the moment of the harassment. In that case, you should gather their information to get a more detailed picture of the situation. Having testimonials to prove one’s side of the story will help you make a decision regarding the involved parties and establish if the complaint is genuine.