Employees often complain of a hostile work environment and harassment interchangeably in a workplace complaint. There is a very specific definition of illegal harassment, but employers should remember that courts make determinations of illegality well after an employer’s obligation to investigate are triggered. It is imperative that employers regard all claims of a hostile work environment or harassment seriously so as to avoid a risk of legal liability stemming from a disproportionally small response. Obviously, the tricky part for any manager or employer is to determine how formally or informally to respond to an employee’s report.
Harassment and environmental complaints by employees are often extremely nebulous, making it incredibly difficult to immediately determine the seriousness of an initial complaint. The Lynch Service Company has conducted hundreds of investigations that allege hostility with minute distinctions based on the industry, interpersonal dynamics, and characters of the involved employees. LSC is able to make preliminary determinations about the seriousness of any particular allegation that a generalist simply cannot be comfortable concluding. Based on those initial fact-gathering efforts, LSC can advise a client company regarding the scope of investigation required to adequately uncover any harassment in an employer’s workplace. From that point, LSC works with an employer to ensure that an appropriate investigation is conducted that adequately addresses the complaint in a financially appropriate manner.
If you have received an allegation describing concerns that can be categorized as workplace hostility, contact the Lynch Service Company to help to determine the most appropriate response to those allegations based on the seriousness of the concern. Contact us today.