One of the more difficult employment issues for employers to manage is a complaint by one employee against another of sexual harassment. The complaint may be “she keeps coming on to me even though I’ve told her I’m not interested.” If the alleged harasser is the supervisor or manager then the complaint potentially is against not only that person but also the employer.
You should never take lightly or dismiss the complaint without investigation. Both employees have rights you need to recognise and uphold. Emotions can run high because the situation involves accusation and often denial. Therefore, sensitivity and care are essential.
You may think the behaviour is just the sort of stuff that goes on in your industry: This is never a defence in law as the employer in C v D Ltd discovered. The employee had complained about dry humping, genital flicking and comments made about his daughter. The company argued they were not sexual, just what mates do and say and this sort of behaviour is endemic in the construction industry. They lost. The Employment Relations Authority determined the company should have progressively eliminated the behaviour. In Mohi and B v Parts and Services Ltd the Employment Relations Authority spelt out what employers should do when sexual harassment has occurred and reminded them this is not about Political Correctness.
How we can help
We will assist you by
- Advising you about the law;
- Discussing any assistance you may need to provide the complainant;
- Assisting you with the investigation;
- Advising you about the decision to be made;
- Advising you about policies you should have for the future.
If you would like our help, this is the information we will need
- A dateline of events.
- The complainant’s statement and any accompanying witness statements .
- Employment agreement for both the complainant and the alleged harasser;
- Your sexual harassment policies and procedures and internet use policies where they are relevant to the complaint.
- Both employees’ personal files.
- Wage, time and leave records.
- Your contact details.
on to me even though I’ve told her I’m not interested.”