It’s Happened, Now What? “Conducting Interviews” when Harassment has Occurred

This issue continues to be of huge concern to organizations and it does impact service levels and brand. (It even has the power to create bankruptcy issues as we’ve seen this week). One of the hardest parts of dealing with harassment in the workplace is where to start, and how quickly one has to act on a complaint? Determining if it is founded or unfounded is not the first thing one should decide – and it should be kept confidential.

So what do you do when you get a complaint?….Are you asking….”Now What”?

How do you handle these often extremely uncomfortable situations and interviews? If there is an unsafe or threatening situation one has to act immediately upon the complaint, and call for the appropriate help. (We discuss who to call, and when to call in more depth in our training program). Who gets involved and what jurisdiction handles certain types of claims can also be tricky.

Incidents of Harassment (some interesting stats)

The latest Harassment & Sexual Violence (HSV) report from the Federal Government in 2017 (Canada) found of the self-reporting survey respondents:

  • 60% stated having experienced workplace harassment,
  • 30% percent said that they had experienced sexual harassment,
  • 21% had experienced violence, and
  • 3 % had experienced sexual violence.

The Conference Board of Canada also found that incidence of workplace violence has grown steadily in recent decades, as has awareness and understanding of the issue. The scope of what constitutes workplace violence has been broadened beyond extreme physical acts to include psychologically harmful behaviours. Legislative changes have broadened the responsibility of employers to take pre-emptive actions to curb violence and harassment risk.

In our training course we provide sample interview templates with sample questions to conduct interviews for the;

  • Complainant
  • Alleged Harasser
  • Witness(es)…. if there are any….

These sample questions help you keep to asking the “facts” without leaning towards any bias or unconscious bias that can often creep in. One has to learn how to empathize and remain neutral during this process. Remember you must act on the complaint and there are some guidelines to help.

Any physical evidence must be protected (such as any copies of social media posts, photos or other). A confidential file should be set up and not placed in the employee personnel files.

A summary of your findings should use a journalistic approach.

Action taken if it is disciplinary in nature would be produced and placed in an employee personnel file.

Again, keep track of all dates, times of these interviews and use the “W-5” approach such as; “what, when, who, where and other details or evidence in the event it goes to outside parties or court.

In our training course we offer a sample “roadmap” of different “options” to take along the decision-making path as one proceeds with dealing with harassment claims. If you would like to ensure you are in a small group environment, where you can engage in discussion, skills practice and real-world situations and be provided with templates and checklists to help guide you along the way,

Register Today. Space is limited to 10 attendees.

If you are a manager or supervisor, and feel you would immediately benefit from this program, learn more at the link below.

From Awkward Avoidance to Responsible Reaction
Dealing Effectively with Workplace Harassment

March 14, 2018
Vancouver, BC
8:30 to 4:00 p.m.

50% discount if you register before
March 5, 2018

For more information and online registration:

Bring this program “In-House” for Managers/Supervisors

This full day program or individual modules are available for in-house or on-site training.

Contact us today;

Watch for an upcoming blog where we will discuss “Preventing Workplace Harassment”

Disclaimer: These posts are offered as guidance and do not constitute legal advice.