You can’t know everything that goes on in your convenience store. As a manager, though, what you don’t know can hurt you. This is particularly true when it comes to harassment in the workplace. If you have employees or other managers who are creating a hostile work environment, you could be held liable for not stopping it. Even if legal liability doesn’t make its way to you, your store will almost certainly be affected by poor morale and increased turnover. When you handle harassment reports correctly, you may be able to stop an isolated incident from becoming a full-blown crisis.
Your Role in Harassment Reporting
Harassment policies instruct employees to make a report if they feel harassed or witness harassment. How you handle reports of harassment is key to stopping harassment from escalating and preventing it from recurring. Follow these guidelines when an employee comes to you to report harassment:
- Take it seriously. It is your obligation to investigate all harassment reports. Once an employee reports harassment to you, you must own the process. Never suggest that employees try to work things out on their own.
- Give the employee who is making the report your full attention. Show empathy and thank the person for coming forward.
- Focus on the details. Reports of harassment are bound to get emotional. You must be impartial, no matter who is involved. Stay focused and take notes.
- Reiterate your company’s policy against retaliation. It is against federal law for a company to retaliate against an employee who reports harassment in good faith. Let the reporting employee know that they will not suffer any reprisals from the company for making the report.
- Follow company policy. Immediately inform your supervisor of any and all harassment complaints. Document all complaints and investigations in writing and in accordance with your company’s policies.
Reports of harassment are an opportunity for you to influence the culture of your company. Handling a report following the guidelines above can help you both prevent harassment and stop it immediately if it does occur. to All employees are entitled to a comfortable and hostile-free work environment, and that starts with you.
Train Employees to Report Harassment
Online harassment training helps employees and managers learn how to recognize and report harassment. Once your entire staff is properly trained, it’s important to regularly follow up that initial training with a refresher course. Click here for more information.