When there is offensive behaviour and a worker complains about it, what an employer does to resolve the complaint should be guided by the outcome that the worker wants.
If the complaint is serious in nature, it should be dealt with through a formal procedure. If assault or stalking is involved, the police or a lawyer should become involved.
There are simple steps to deal with the complaint internally, including:
- stopping the offensive behaviour without making judgments
- removing anything offensive – graffiti, posters, screen savers
- discussing support options with both sides
- asking them to consider meeting to conciliate
- monitoring the situation to ensure offensive behaviour is not happening
- monitoring to ensure neither party is victimised
- letting all staff know how you expect them to behave in the workplace.
As an employer, make sure that you:
- make brief notes of your actions
- keep the staff involved informed of any action you take
- maintain confidentiality.
As an employee, discuss any continuing problems with your senior management, human resource department or seek advice from the Equal Opportunity Commission.