Employee Handbook: Policies for Reporting & Investigating Complaints

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In our last article, we discussed why business owners should have a written Employee Handbook.

An Employee Handbook should contain written policies that all employees must follow before a formal Complaint can be investigated. Among other policies, the handbook should also explain, in detail, how Complaints are to be reported by an employee and what the Company will do to investigate the formal Complaint.

Here’s What We Recommend:

1. If you feel someone is harassing you, ask the person to stop the harassing behavior. Be specific about the behavior you want stopped.

2. Any employee who believes he or she has been harassed by a coworker, supervisor, customer, or vendor should promptly report the facts of the incident or incidents and the names of the individuals involved to his or her immediate supervisor or to any Manager or the President and Owner. Managers should immediately report any incidents of harassment to the President and Owner. The Company will investigate all such claims and take appropriate corrective action.

3. Any employee who is aware of any harassing actions by another employee, customer, or others, directed toward any other employee is under a duty to report such actions to the appropriate supervisor or to the President and Owner. Failure to report such actions could be subject to disciplinary actions up to and including termination.

4. Employees are expected to cooperate in the investigation of any complaint made pursuant to this policy and must comply with any request for confidentiality. Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigation to the extent practical and appropriate under the circumstances. Based upon the facts and circumstances determined at the conclusion of the investigation, appropriate action, which may include discipline up to and including immediate termination for cause, will be taken. The conclusion of an investigation conducted pursuant to the policy will be communicated in an appropriate manner.

5. Information provided by individual employees in the course of an investigation will be treated as confidential and only be provided to those who have a legitimate need for the information.

6. Retaliation against any individual who has reported or complained of harassment or who cooperates in the investigation of a claim of harassment is prohibited. A person who retaliates against another individual for reporting harassment is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Investigation Process

During the investigation process, the following information needs to be carefully considered:

  • confirm the name and position of the reporting individual and the identity of the alleged harasser;
  • thoroughly assemble all facts in connection with the incident including interviewing the reporting individual and the alleged harasser and all of the witnesses that observed the alleged harassment;
  • all Parties should be questioned in a non-judgmental manner;
  • the frequency and the type of the alleged harassment should be determined and, where possible, the dates and locations where the alleged harassment occurred;
  • determine whether the reporting individual responded to the alleged harassment and what efforts he or she made to informally resolve the matter;
  • determine whether the reporting individual consulted anyone about the alleged harassment and took notes of whether anyone else knows about the alleged harassment; and
  • determine whether the reporting individual informed any managers or supervisors about the situation and what response the reporting individual received from these individuals.

Questions?

Contact our office to ask any questions.

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