Employees often report harassment to their employers without actually using the word “harassment.” Reporting employees may seem irrational, flamboyant, or overly sensitive when they make their initial reports; however, this does not diminish the seriousness of the allegation. Employers often regard complaints as the musings of an emotional employee without realizing that the employee became reactive as a consequence of behaviors the employers are tolerating within the workplace. Employees often become sensitive and make poor decisions when they perceive that they have been victims of harassment for a period of time. Even if one particular employee’s reaction seems disproportionate to a workplace circumstance, a proper investigation will determine the existence and severity of the conditions affecting all employees in that environment.
Although it is not illegal for an employee to be a jerk, it is illegal to harass employees based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. Furthermore, employees dealing with harassment are not performing at their most efficient and are often coping by seeking out support and input from peers in a manner that further decreases productivity and increases rumors. It is entirely possible that employees accused of harassment are behaving appropriately, but it is in the best interest of the accused employee and the employer to thoroughly investigate the causes of the perceived harassment within each workplace.
A proper harassment investigation provides the information that an employer can use to address areas of liability and remediate ineffective interpersonal dynamics. LSC understands that the facts are never straightforward in a harassment investigation, and it is difficult to determine the reasonableness of any particular allegation. LSC’s procedure is to collect all the relevant information from all the relevant individuals to determine if harassment is more likely than not to have occurred. Harassment allegations, in particular, are so likely to inflame the emotions of the involved parties that it is necessary to engage the services of an expert, like LSC, who can solicit genuine responses from involved parties and decipher defendable, situation-specific conclusions that enable employers to build up their organizations.
If you have a circumstance where an employee has reported or alleged that they are being harassed at work, reach out to LSC to determine the appropriateness of hiring LSC to conduct a neutral and unbiased investigation into those concerns. Contact us today.