Monday, January 05, 2009

Keep Track of Follow-up Correspondence

If you have to complain or have complained about racially based discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation--even if you haven't specifically used those words--it's important that you keep a record of all correspondence to follow-up on your complaint.

If you've met with a supervisor, director, VP, etc., you should document that face-to-face meeting, in writing, to get a record of what was said and any next steps that were promised.

But, more importantly, if you haven't had a satisfactory response to your complaint, you should send a follow-up message asking about the status of your complaint, issue, question, etc.

Never set yourself up to look like the issue that you brought up really wasn't a big deal and don't allow someone to test your commitment to get results, by seeing if they can just wait you out. Many supervisors and employers like to use stall tactics. It's one of the easiest ways to marginalize and ignore an employee. "We're looking into it" or "Business is so hectic right now, we haven't had time to check into things," are just two of the responses you can get. While these may be legit issues, they are also great ways to stall a complaining employee.

Many employees may feel uncomfortable if they continue to bring up questions about a sensitive issue. Employees may feel they are more likely to face some sort of retaliation if they "pester" someone in HR or a supervisor about a hot-button issue, such as anything involving race. So, stalling does work in many cases.

But, you have a right to follow-up about your issues. Should you need to file a formal internal or external complaint, you will want your follow-up attempts included as part of the package you submit to launch an investigation. Ignored follow-up correspondence (emails, memos, letters, etc.) can show that a serious issue was being marginalized and ignored and can show an employer may be tolerant of certain behavior, which may violate federal statutes.

If you've been promised certain next steps, you have a right to know if those steps have been completed. If you've been promised an employee will be suspended, sent to sensitivity training, etc., you have a right to know that these actions have taken place. If you are dealing with an internal or external investigator, you have a right to know the status of your complaint/status of the investigation.

Don't think of yourself as pestering someone. Investigations can take time, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be abreast of what's happening. Things can slip through the cracks. You want to make sure your complaint isn't one of those things.

Anytime you follow-up with someone about anything related to your complaint, make sure to maintain a record for your files. The information could be very important in the long-term. Ask questions and document everything!


Anonymous XL Brokerage said...

Thanks for the unique and informative blog... lots of great tips and advice!

10:56 AM  
Blogger Sandy Gholston said...

I agree ... I check this blog out all the time. I can relate to a lot of what's in it.

8:03 PM  
Blogger emaleme50 said...

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2:10 AM  

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