Friday, August 01, 2008

Supervisor Harassment - Part 2 (Effective Complaint Procedures)

Yesterday’s post started the discussion about what to do about harassment by a supervisor. Today, we’ll look at what the EEOC has to say about reporting harassment committed by a supervisor. It falls under the category of an employer having an effective complaint procedure.

In a nutshell, the EEOC says that if your supervisor is the harasser, you are entitled to report the harassment to someone other than this supervisor. Otherwise, the complaint process is worthless.

Therefore, if you are being told that you should not have gone over your supervisor’s head with complaints, you shouldn’t buy into that lie. There may be a preference that you don’t go over your supervisor’s head. But, that doesn’t make it a legally defensible request.

It makes no sense to report your supervisor to your supervisor. As I joked with a friend, how’s that investigation going to work? Will they put themselves on suspension or go for a demotion? Maybe a written warning? Of course not! In some cases an employee has no choice, but to circumvent the direct authority of a supervisor. Supervisor harassment is one of those times! This is from the EEOC:

Effective Complaint Procedures

An employer's harassment complaint procedure should be designed to encourage victims to come forward. To that end, it should clearly explain the process and ensure that there are no unreasonable obstacles to complaints. A complaint procedure should not be rigid, since that could defeat the goal of preventing and correcting harassment. When an employee complains to management about alleged harassment, the employer is obligated to investigate the allegation regardless of whether it conforms to a particular format or is made in writing.

The complaint procedure should provide accessible points of contact for the initial complaint. A complaint process is not effective if employees are always required to complain first to their supervisors about alleged harassment, since the supervisor may be a harasser. Moreover, reasonable care in preventing and correcting harassment requires an employer to instruct all supervisors to report complaints of harassment to appropriate officials.

It is advisable for an employer to designate at least one official outside an employee's chain of command to take complaints of harassment. For example, if the employer has an office of human resources, one or more officials in that office could be authorized to take complaints. Allowing an employee to bypass his or her chain of command provides additional assurance that the complaint will be handled in an impartial manner, since an employee who reports harassment by his or her supervisor may feel that officials within the chain of command will more readily believe the supervisor's version of events.

Source: http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/harassment.html#IIIA

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello
good info..I discovered your site doing a google search

i have several (5 in total) charges pending with EEOC and its been well over 2 years at this point i'm just amazed...

after filing my initial complaint of discrimination, all forms of retaliation was a result (threats, denial of promotion, termination and ineligibility to rehire)

i think what really pisses me off although i never trusted her was that the black HR director (she's no longer in her role) went along w/the program....

HR was useless the companies internal EEO process was utterly useless...when you file a internal EEO complaint, the complaint is redirected to Human Resources

fortunately, their case is unraveling, their written responses is not adding up to the documentation I submitted

I documented everything and interesting enough this same HR director told me no amount of documentation will win over a manager

of course all of this was reported to EEOC

11:58 PM  
Blogger Fighter said...

I’ve posted this before: HR work AGAINST workers. I am stating the obvious: HR people are paid to protect the company. I am sure most people know this.

1:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most probably don't know this. You might, but that doesn't mean that everyone else does.

10:35 AM  

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