• Last Updated:
  • Aug 29th, 2014 10:26 am
Tags:
None
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 23, 2008
3848 posts
328 upvotes
Toronto

How to handle this situation

One of my female employees complained to me that she was sexually harassed by a male coworker. Basically someone was making uncomfortable remarks about her physical attributes.

In our employee booklet, it has clear rules for all types of harassment. Simply put, it is not tolerated.

The problem is, the accused is denying it 100% and was very aggressive when I asked for his side of the story. He strongly believes she was lying 100% in order to get him fired.

No witnesses, just he said, she said.

The lack of witnesses and conflict of information makes me stuck on how to proceed.
11 replies
Newbie
Jul 23, 2014
37 posts
5 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Without any evidence or a witness It is mere hear say- nothing more at this stage. Has the accused denied the facts- the specifics regarding the physical attributes? If yes all that can be done is to make a note stating such a complaint has been alleged by this person and be specific about what is being told you to you in the notes. Also leave a note of any observations- eg- Accused shouted/ raised his voice etc. Talk to both parties and state that there is a zero tolerance for sexual harassment at your work place regardless of what has happened.Document this as well in your notes- make sure the employees dont have access to this file. You can use this to prove later that as an employee you have been fair and took reasonable care. If you are too concerned or worried the accuser is not happy with the proceedings get legal help.

What sort of work place is this-eg- retail store where only 2 people work in a shift? If so what you can you do to prevent this? Are they both on the same level of employment? The matter can be investigated if there are other employees to show you have been fair and thorough but you may be dragging them into something unwanted. Has someone else hinted anything of this sorted regarding the accused? What one person might consider a casual/ harmless flirt could be taken as a serious harassment by another- how one feels is not equally measurable.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2004
5030 posts
756 upvotes
I don't know, I definitely wouldn't want to have to deal with that. It's a lose lose.
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 23, 2008
3848 posts
328 upvotes
Toronto
They work together at a subcontracted location at a condominium. They are both have the same job title.

There were no witnesses and no one else can provide any input about the situation or the accused because these are subcontracted locations, therefore I have employees working all across the GTA as opposed to one location, which makes this situation difficult.

I think what I would do is voluntarily request either one of them to be relocated to a different location. The female already told me that she feels unformfortable working with him and requested to be transfered to a different location without me even asking.
Deal Addict
Nov 21, 2004
1609 posts
67 upvotes
Definitely take the allegations seriously. Without getting any substantiation, do as Kiwibloke says and document the crap out of it. Transfer the female to a new location NOW. You don't ever want to be accused of being complacent in a sexual harassment situation.
Member
User avatar
Dec 3, 2013
203 posts
79 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Documentation is critical, although as indicated by others, there are no grounds to fire the accused without proof. Separate the employees and consider pairing the accused with a male to avoid future issues.
As the co-founder of a business dedicated to making it easy to buy and sell used iPhones, I have fairly extensive experience navigating Craigslist/Kijiji for used iPhones, and also troubleshooting said iPhones.
Member
Aug 25, 2004
211 posts
9 upvotes
I would move the female employee asap and speak to your lawyer.

What does your gut tell you, I am pretty good judge of a persons character and would like to think I would know who is lying. Not saying you should fire them based on your instincts, but could help with future issues.
Newbie
May 28, 2013
68 posts
10 upvotes
Toronto
Given the seriousness of the situation, don't look here for advice.

Call the Labour Board and find out what you can do along with what you are required to do.

This isn't a situation that is about opinions -- legal responsibilities are involved.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Apr 21, 2004
48702 posts
14273 upvotes
What kind of uncomfortable remarks?

Just because she felt uncomfortable, doesn't mean they were out of bounds.


You might want to seek legal counsel but without evidence of the act, it could be a ploy. If the male employee has good work ethics and is respectful to many others, it's hard to jump to conclusions.


Can male employees file sexual harassment complaints too?
Aeroplan Miles Points for Sale -- only 1.5 cents per mile
aeroplan-miles-points-sale-only-1-5-cen ... #p30504516
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 23, 2008
3848 posts
328 upvotes
Toronto
My lawyer says to just seperate them because she already requested to be transfered. If I make her transfer, then it gets way more complicated. She requested it herself, so it simplifies things. And of course, document everything word by word.

Lawyer suggests to do the following:

Reissue harassment rules to all employees again to cover my arse.

Interview both parties and document everything word by word.

Transfer the female because she requested the transfer.

Issue both parties a conclusion letter outlining what was done and have them sign off stating they are satisfied with the investigation.
Newbie
May 28, 2013
68 posts
10 upvotes
Toronto
And get it in writing that SHE requested the transfer -- make sure she submits a request in writing rather than you presenting her with one to sign. No way you want her coming back later saying you forced it on her to hush things up. I've seen people pull stuff like that down the road when they are let go for unrelated issues.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 5, 2007
4874 posts
1153 upvotes
Toronto
this better be taken in a very serious, delicate, sensitive way. You can get SCREWED if you don't play your cards right and u better be kissing her ass

not literally though

or else she will file one against you as well.

Top