Remember that an unpaid suspension can be deemed a
termination, so paid absences are usually preferable.
b. Appropriate training for the investigator(s). Simply
asking questions and taking answers is not necessarily
appropriate. Investigators should be trained and expect to
provide a clear and concise report of their findings.
c. Be confidential where possible. However, ensure that
individuals who are interviewed understand that while
confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible,
information may be shared for the purpose of conducting
a fair investigation. Finding the balance between privacy
and the obligation to investigate can be delicate, but
a blanket “confidentiality” undertaking simply cannot
d. Consider the results of the investigation and act
appropriately. Is discipline/termination necessary?
Workplace training? Mediation amongst the parties?
2nix / 123RF
Social media can be
considered a “workplace” if
the connection is made due
Carefully consider options and consult HR/legal counsel
on next steps.
e. Have a process for communicating the results to both
the complainant and the alleged harasser. A poorly
communicated investigation can do more harm than good.
Be clear, concise and direct in the response and available to
deal with and answer any inquiries.
f. Manage the fallout. Investigations are time consuming
and disruptive. They take their toll on the workplace and
often pit one employee against another. Have a plan for
not only communication, but for dealing with questions
and upset employees; healing may take time. Be open
about the organization’s willingness to move forward and
work towards a harassment-free workplace. Also have
resources available for both the victim and the alleged
harasser if they return to work.
g. Train your employees, managers and supervisors,
and update your training plan annually.
Dealing with the issue of harassment isn’t just optics. It’s about
maintaining a workplace where employees are (and feel) safe from
any threat of harassment, including sexual harassment. The ben-efit
is a more productive and efficient workplace, resulting in a
better bottom line, excellent employee retention and a strong rep-utation.
And who can argue with that? n
Lorenzo Lisi is a practice group leader with Workplace Law
Group Aird & Berlis LLP. Attend his presentations, “Diversity
and Inclusion in the Workplace: Nurturing Your Business and
Maintaining the Law,” on Jan. 30 at 11 a.m. and “The Implications
of the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act on Your
Workplace,” on Jan. 30 at 3 p.m.
THE OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE A
WORKPLACE FREE OF HARASSMENT
EXISTS UNDER HUMAN RIGHTS
AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH
AND SAFETY LEGISLATION.
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ CONFERENCE ISSUE 2019 ❚ 23