UT-OH Time for HR

June 30, 2014 in Best of Both, management, work by MyBestofBothWorlds

Welcome back to Management Mondays, today’s topic is UT-OH Time for HR to get involved!  Hopefully you won’t find yourself in this situation especially if you are practicing what we discussed last week Preventative Management, but it happens. Trust me I’ve had to say to myself UT-OH Time for HR and called right down there.

As a busy manager, going from meeting to meeting, your pager goes off for the umpteenth time, you answer expecting a small fire that you can handle over the phone and provide guidance and direction. Not this time, the atom bomb drops and you hear your lead tech tell you that your supervisor has been “basically stalking” an employee going on Facebook, texting her, giving her a prolonged hug during which he touched her inappropriately, sending inappropriate picture messages to her phone etc.. You reiterate what your lead tech said, just to be sure you heard it correctly and the lead tech agrees that indeed you got the story. What to do next is critical, to you and your organization’s well being.

You are obligated to address this type of issue with urgency it is time for HR. If you are aware of sexual harassment and do nothing about it, you as an individual can be liable if there is a legal case. First things first, get all the information. In private, meet with your lead technologist and find out exactly what they know—take notes. Then in the presence of the lead technologist, bring in the employee that has registered the complaint. Ask them to walk you through what the situation is as they know it.

photo credit MorgueFile.com

photo credit MorgueFile.com

Assure the employee that you will be employing the chain of command and bumping this up to your boss and the Human Resources department, so a formal investigation can begin. Few situations are exactly as presented by one person or even two. It is not up to you as a manager to pass judgment or try to settle the situation, you need to hear all sides of the matter.

Most likely in this type of example, human resources intervenes and takes over the investigation and will come back with recommendations if the claims are substantiated and may dismiss the offending supervisor as most facilities have a zero tolerance policy with regards to this type of behavior.  Hostile work environments are a big no no for sure.  Next week we will look at what contributes to a hostile work environment, and how to identify them early, so you don’t have to say Ut-Oh time for HR!