Responding to a sexual harassment complaint against you

Sexual harassment in the workplace is something that can cripple an organization. Over the past few weeks, we have given employers some tips for dealing with complaints of sexual harassment. One point that we haven't yet discussed is how to handle complaints of sexual harassment when they are made against you.

If an employee accuses you of sexual harassment, you can't ignore the complaint. Instead, you must follow the same guidelines as you would follow if the complaint was made against another person. As a manager, supervisor, owner or person of authority in your company, you have to ensure that you are protecting the interests of the company.

When you learn of a sexual harassment complaint that is against you, your first action must be to listen to the entire complaint. It is vital that you stay calm and open-minded. This can help you to respond to the complaint accurately.

Once you know the basis of the complaint, you can consider your own actions. It is possible that something that you don't consider sexual harassment makes someone else in the organization feel uncomfortable. In that case, determining a way that you can change your actions might be appropriate. You can consider the sexual harassment complaint a learning opportunity.

There are some instances in which there is no easy answer to a sexual harassment complaint about you. Learning about the legal options you have and having a third-party look into the claims might help your company. This is especially true if you are facing litigation based on complaints regarding sexual harassment.

Source: Chron, "How to Respond to a Harassment Complaint at Work," Beth Greenwood, accessed Sep. 28, 2015

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