Harassment Complaint Procedure for Employees

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  • 0:00 Policy as Guidance
  • 1:14 Reporting
  • 1:47 During the Initial Intake
  • 2:36 During the Investigation
  • 3:20 Alternative Methods
  • 3:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Many organizations will have policies in place to address sexual harassment and what victims can do. In this lesson, you'll learn the general procedures to follow to report sexual harassment to your employer.

Policy as Guidance

Nikita works as a young account executive that is gunning for a sales management position in the company. The day before her annual review, Richard, her sales manager, asked Nikita on a date, and Nikita declines. Richard asked her to reconsider, noting that getting to know each other on a more personal level could be advantageous for her career. She declined again. The following day, she received her annual review from Richard, which was quite bad. She believes that Richard's critiques were unfounded and made in response to her refusal of the date.

Nikita's a bright person and knows the first thing she needs to do is review her company's sexual harassment policy, which are her company's rules and procedures relating to defining, reporting, investigating, and correcting sexual harassment that has occurred while on the job. She heads back to her office and pulls the policy out of her file cabinet.

Nikita sees that the company prohibits quid pro quo sexual harassment, which occurs when a supervisor demands a sexual favor from a subordinate in exchange for a beneficial employment action or to prevent an adverse employment action. She thinks that this fits the description of what happened to her, so she starts scanning the policy to see what to do about it.


Nikita discovers that her first order of business is simply to report the incident to her employer. At first Nikita freaked out because her company's policy provided that she should report the harassment to her direct supervisor, who would then help her through the process. She doubted very much that Richard would be helpful since he was the one doing the harassing. However, Nikita was relieved to see the company policy had an alternative means of reporting the harassment that bypasses her supervisor. She is able to make a confidential report to a designated person in the company's human resource department, and she does just that.

During the Initial Intake

Nikita makes a confidential phone call to Marcy, the designated employee at HR in charge of accepting and investigating complaints of sexual harassment. Marcy assures Nikita that her privacy will be maintained to the extent possible. She then asks Nikita a series of questions to gather the relevant facts, basically the 'who, what, where, and how' of what happened. She also asks for the names of any witnesses. Nikita answers the questions fully and truthfully.

Marcy again reiterates that she will try to keep the matter confidential but does acknowledge that Richard will have to be informed since he's the one being accused of the harassment. Nikita is relieved when Marcy tells her that the company will immediately transfer Nikita to a new supervisor and that Richard will no longer have any authority over her during the investigation.

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