No matter what steps you take to try and protect the business and your employees against discrimination and harassment, complaints still happen.
When you’re faced with a complaint from an employee you’ll want to make sure that you’re doing everything properly as you investigate. Despite your best intentions it can be difficult to know exactly what an investigation should entail and how to conduct it in a way that protects you legally. Below are some steps you can take when handling an employee complaint.
Speak to everyone involved
You should get as many witness accounts as possible of the particular event in question. Start by talking to the employee with the complaint and take as much information as you can about exactly what they allege to have happened. Be sure to take notes that you can then use when getting the accused’s “side of the story” as well as anyone else who saw/heard anything.
Keep a written record of everything
This includes keeping a note of all the interviews you’ve carried out during your investigation as well as documenting every step you’ve taken throughout the process. This is going to be important to have if, later down the line, the employee states that the interview was not carried out fairly or that there were other things you could have done.
Resist the urge to retaliate
Employees need to feel comfortable that they can come to you without fear of retaliation or reprisal. Treat everyone involved with courtesy and keep an open mind. This means not making any decisions or judgements until the investigation is complete.
Handling employee complaints can be difficult and emotive. Seeking legal assistance can make the process easier while also making sure you’re protected legally.